St Peter (~1AD to ~65AD):
St. Peter (then called Simon, son of Jonah) was a fisherman in Bethsaida along with his brother, St. Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee, Sts James and John . He was married prior to becoming the first apostle ordained by Jesus in the early Church.
In the Gospel, Our Lord asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples give various answers. When He asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord replies:
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Cephas (Peter) (Petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:13–19).
Peter served as bishop of Antioch for seven years and left his family in there before his journey to Rome where he became its first bishop. During his ministry St. Peter, healed preached and taught. He was the leader of the apostles, selecting a replacement to Judas and becoming the first pope (papa) followed in succession by St. Linus.
St.Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero. He was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Our Lord Jesus.
St Paul (~5BC to 67AD):
St. Paul (Born Saul) was a Roman citizen by birth, from a devout Jewish family in the city of Tarsus. He was educated in Jerusalem at the school of Gamaliel where he learned classical literature, philosophy, and ethics. Paul confesses that “beyond measure” he persecuted the church of God prior to his conversion. He spoke Greek, Hebrew Latin and was well versed in Stoicism
St. Paul’s conversion can be dated ~32AD while travelling on the road to Damascus, where he reported having experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus. He was blinded for three days and had to be led into Damascus by the hand. During these three days, Saul took no food or water and spent his time in prayer to God. When Ananias of Damascus arrived, he laid his hands on him and said: “Brother Saul, the Lord, Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” His sight was restored, and was baptized.
He became one of the most important of all the saints. Many of his writings became Canonical Scripture and form much of the New Testament. He traveled the world, first to Arabia then back to Damascus. He also visited Jerusalem to see St. Peter, the first pope and stayed with him at his home for a half month. After a time he returned to his hometown of Tarsus, and he preached there until he was called by St. Barnabus to come to Antioch. After a year spent in Antioch, a famine occurred in Jerusalem and he and St Barnabus visited with alms. He travelled to Spain and the East, and finally returned to Rome once again.
In 67 AD, Paul was arrested in Rome for a second time and this time he was beheaded under the Emperor Nero who knew . Paul personally.
Let us pray.
O God, Who made this day holy by the martyrdom of Your Apostle Peter and Paul, grant Your Church to follow in all things the teaching of those from whom she first received the faith.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.