Saint Peter’s Day or Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul is a holiday observed by members of the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches on June 29 every year. On this day, the martyrdom of both Saints is celebrated, and special Masses are held, along with festivities around the world. In Rome and other regions, this feast is considered a public holiday. It is also a holy day of obligation in the Latin Church, which means that the congregation is expected to attend Mass at some point during the day.
History of St Peters Day
According to biblical tradition, Saint Peter was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. Before he was called upon by Jesus, he was a fisherman and his original name was Simon — which means ‘he who has heard.’ Jesus was the one to change his name to Peter — which means ‘rock’ or ‘foundation’. The Church’s tradition dictates that that name was chosen because Peter was the foundation of the new covenant and that he was to be the leader of Jesus’ founded Church on Earth. That’s why Peter is believed to have been the very first Pope of the “Catholic Church.”
Christianity was still very new and there weren’t many Christians in ancient Rome, especially because those who bravely showed their faith in public were persecuted for centuries until the Roman Empire converted — Peter was one of these people. According to tradition, the apostle requested to be crucified upside-down, because he felt that he didn’t deserve to die in the same way as Jesus. Some Church scholars believe that June 29 is the date Peter died and that’s why his martyrdom is celebrated on this day.
On the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Christians from the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches hold special celebrations. The “Catholic Church” promotes a special Mass with the Pope where newly created archbishops are appointed and receive the ‘pallium’ — the main symbol of their new post within the Church. In Rome, a statue of Saint Peter is decorated with jewels and special garments.
St Peters Day timeline
According to tradition, Saint Peter is born sometime in one A.D.
Jesus names Saint Peter the first leader of his Church.
Although we don’t know the exact date, we do know that Saint Peter dies by crucifixion.
Sometime before the 12th Century, Peter is recognized by the Catholic Church as a Saint.
St Peters Day FAQs
What is Saint Peter best known for?
He is best known for being considered the first leader of the Catholic Church.
What is Saint Peter’s symbol?
The inverted cross is also known as the ‘Petrine Cross,’ because of how Saint Peter died.
What is Saint Peter the patron saint of?
Saint Peter is the patron saint of priests, fishermen, locksmiths, net makers, and shipbuilders.
How to Observe St Peters Day
Attend a mass
If you are looking to celebrate St. Peter’s Day, the best way is to attend Mass. Search online for your parish’s schedule and attend the celebration.
Decorate a statue of Saint Peter
If you have a small statue of Saint Peter at home, you can decorate it. Do so using flowers or other religious symbols.
Reflect on the story of Saint Peter
If you are unable to attend Mass or you don't have a statue of Saint Peter, you can always search for his story and take notes. What better way to celebrate his day than to reflect on his life?
5 Interesting Facts About St Peter
He is the patron saint of priests
Since he is considered to be the first pope, Saint Peter is also considered the patron Saint of all priests and popes.
He’s the guardian of heaven’s gates
According to Catholic tradition, Saint Peter is the one who holds the keys to the Gates of Heaven.
He was the first pope
Also according to Catholic tradition, Jesus gave Saint Peter the first role of leadership in the Church, therefore he’s considered to be the first-ever Pope.
He was crucified upside down
Saint Peter didn’t think it would be honorable of him to die the same way his Master — Jesus, did, so, he requested to be crucified upside down.
He was a fisherman
Before he was called upon to be an Apostle, Saint Peter worked as a fisherman.
Why St Peters Day is Important
It unites the church
The entire Church all around the world comes together to observe this holiday. How special is that?
It honors an important figure
It’s crucial in traditional environments to pay tribute to the people who helped build the foundation of what’s available today. Saint Peter was the one who paved the Church we see now!
It’s a day of reflection and introspection
As much as we love going out or getting friends and family together to celebrate, it’s also great to spend some time reflecting and meditating on our lives. This feast is a great day to practice introspection!
St Peters Day dates