The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is observed on June 29 but is sometimes moved to the following Monday and this year it will be held on July 1. This official Colombian public holiday is a liturgical feast that honors the martyrdom of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Its origins stem from ancient Christianity, with the date being significant as it is the anniversary of either their death or the translation of their relics. Both St. Peter and St. Paul were a part of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ.
History of The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
St. Peter was the first Pope and founder of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Paul was responsible for much of the New Testament and is one of the most important Apostles who spread the teachings of Jesus and Christianity. In fact, 13 out of the 27 books of the New Testament are attributed to St. Paul.
St. Peter was said to have been martyred around 64 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Nero. His death was by crucifixion since he was not a Roman citizen. Considering himself unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus did, he requested that he be crucified upside down. He was buried in what was to become the Vatican Necropolis and later St. Peter’s Basilica was built over his tomb. St. Paul was said to also have been martyred during this time as well. He was beheaded and buried in Rome outside the walls. Although the church recognizes that they may not have died on the same day, tradition says that this is the day they were both martyred in Rome by Emperor Nero.
This is a day of ‘Solemnity,’ which means that Catholics cannot eat meat on the day, even if it falls on Friday when fish would be eaten. In honor and praise of St. Peter, who was the patron saint of fishermen, coastal and island communities may decorate their boats. St. Paul was known for this handicraft. This day is honored around the world but in Rome, it is a major holiday. Stores, banks and schools, and the Vatican are closed. The pope holds a mass and the bronze statue of St. Peter is decorated with traditional attire. The other celebrations include flowers and fireworks.
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul timeline
St. Paul is crucified and St. Paul is beheaded.
Constantine erects a basilica on Vatican Hill where he believes the relics of St. Peter rested.
An excavation of the site where it is believed that remains of St. Peter are held is ordered, but there are no clear findings.
Images of St. Peter and St. Paul are found on the wall of Rome’s catacombs dating back to the 4th Century A.D.
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul FAQs
What did St. Peter and St Paul do?
According to the church, St Peter and St Paul taught together in Rome and founded Christianity.
Who is St. Peter the patron saint of?
St. Peter was a fisherman so he is considered the patron saint of net makers, shipbuilders, and fishermen. He also holds the “Keys of Heaven,” and is also the patron saint of locksmiths.
What is the difference between Apostle and disciple?
An Apostle was specifically chosen by Jesus to spread the gospel after his death and resurrection. A disciple believes Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour.
How to Observe The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
Spread the message
Celebrate the occasion by spreading the gospel. Talk to anyone willing to lend an ear and listen to Saints Peter’s and Paul’s stories.
Attend a church service
Attend either Vespers on the eve of this day or Divine Liturgy. It is a spiritual holiday so attending mass will be ideal
Do a good deed or act of service
Take today to do a good deed or act of service for an organization or member of your community. Doing good espouses the teachings of Jesus which these Apostles lived by
5 Facts About Saints
It is a formal process
To become a saint a formal process, called canonization, is required, often taking many years or even centuries.
The body of a saint is holy
Once someone becomes a saint, their body is considered holy.
Belongings can be relics
Along with their bodies, the belongings of a saint are kept as relics.
The meaning of patron saint
A patron saint has a person, society, church, or place dedicated to their protection and intercession.
There is a day dedicated to all the saints
All Saints’ Day is a Christian holiday dedicated to honoring and commemorating the saints.
Why The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is Important
It is a day of reflection
We can use this holiday to contemplate the origins of our theological ideas. We can remind ourselves of the basis of what we believe and why we believe it.
It is a day that is very significant in the holy calendar
This is a significant holiday that is observed around the world. It is a time that brings people together in a sense of unity and oneness.
It’s not just about Saint Paul and Saint Peter
Observing the day allows us to remember all the other saints forming the foundation of Christianity. It’s also an opportunity to send prayers to our friends and family who have passed away.
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul dates