June 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles

This feast of the two apostles — both martyred in the capital of the then-Empire and the only ancient diocese that claims two apostles as martyrs — has been in the church’s books since well before we find it listed, for June 29, in the Chronograph of A.D. 354, a collection of both civil and liturgical data from fourth-century Rome.

I love the feast of St. Peter since my son is named after this apostle and was also baptized on this feast day, but I think anyone who considers himself a Christian has something to celebrate today.  Among St. Peter’s patronages (e.g., of fisherfolk and locksmith, against fever), St. Peter also is the patron saint of the worldwide church.  As Jesus promised in the Gospel according to St. Matthew:  Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.


    1. Said Chronograph is also our first evidence of a feast of the Nativity of Our Lord on December 25 at Rome. But that’s another feast altogether, and six months down the road. 🙂

    1. The point here was a simple gesture, for the very Roman Catholics, to St. Peter’s Rome, where these words are inscribed, in Latin, in the base of Michelangelo’s baldacchino above the main altar — underneath which, Catholics like to believe, is the ancient burial palce of St. Peter.

  1. It sounds learned. Or, perhaps Teresa was thinking of Palestrina’s sublime setting.

    If ever there was an oral original in the life-setting of Jesus, it is more likely that it was Aramaic.

  2. Why Latin?

    Because its our tradition! For God’s sake, we let every other religion have such a thing.

  3. An Orthodox priest once told me that Peter and Paul are almost always together on Byzantine icons.

    So the feast of Peter and Paul comes from a time when East and West were united and perhaps had different attitudes toward both Peter and Paul.

    Today, one gets the impression sometimes that Peter is the patron of Roman Catholics, and Paul is the patron of Protestants.

    If one looks at NT Scripture then surely Peter (the Gospels) and Paul (the Epistles) belong together to stand for the unity of the NT witness.

    And in Acts we have both Peter and Paul. Luke seems to not know quite what to do with Paul. Was he an Apostle like Peter (which Paul claimed) or a Prophet?

    And of course, the Gospel of John reminds us that there are others (the beloved disciple) whom Jesus might really have preferred but do not dominate the tradition such as these. After all they were both very flawed rascals obviously rescued only by the grace of God.

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