The Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul
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Annually on June 29
The Martyrdom of
St. Peter and St. Paul
"Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; And even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith."
- Sermon of St. Augustine, 295 a.d.
Today we remember the martyrdom of Apostle Peter and Apostle Paul. "They had been imprisoned in the infamous Mamertine Prison of Rome and both had foreseen their approaching death. It is said that they were martyred at the command of Emperor Nero," (Office Holidays). The method of their executions, however, differed from one another.
El Greco, " Saint Peter and Saint Paul"
Paul - who was born Saul, but converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus - was a Roman citizen. Thus, he was afforded the quick death of beheading.
Peter, the head of the Apostles, was not a Roman citizen. Thus, he suffered a much slower death: crucifiction. According to St. Origen of Alexandria, Peter, feeling unworthy to be crucified in the same fashion as Christ, requested to be crucified upside down.
MASTER OF THE WINKLER EPITAPH, "The Martyrdom of St Peter," ca. 1480 – 1490
The upside down cross, known as the Petrine Cross, has been incorporated into St. Peter's Anglican Church logo.
PRAYER (traditional language):
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified
thee by their martyrdom: Grant that thy Church, instructed by
their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by thy
Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is
Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in
the unity of the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
- First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16 (The Lord God will be a shepherd to Israel, and they shall be His flock.)
- Psalm 87 (The foundations of Zion, the city of God, rest upon the holy hills. Of many nations it shall be said: In Zion were they born.)
- Epistle: 2 Timothy 4:1-8 (Paul writes: "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.")
- The Holy Gospel: John 21:15-19 (Jesus, after rising from the dead, said to Peter: "When you were young, you went where you would, but when you are old, you will go where you are taken." And by these words, He foretold Peter's death. He then said, "Follow me.")
1. Society of Archbishop Justus: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/195.html
2. Office Holidays: https://www.officeholidays.com/holidays/saint-peter-and-saint-paul