Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SS. Peter and Paul

Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under Emperor Nero in the year 67. Peter was crucified head down, at his own request, and Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded. The Church unites them in a common celebration and gives them identical honour.

After his conversion from being a persecutor of Christians, St. Paul became, in heart and soul, a zealous and courageous apostle of Christ. “Paul was a wolf,” says St. Chrysostom, “but he became a lamb. He was a thorn, but he became a fruitful vine. From an enemy, he became a friend; from a weed, he became wholesome bread… The blasphemer became a theologian; the persecutor, a herald of good news; the tormentor – a leader; the traitor – a fellow champion.”

On the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, St. Ambrose said, “This day, brothers, is well known to us and to the whole world, for today is the commemoration of SS. Peter and Paul. Their feast cannot be confined to one part of the world.” St. Augustine, in one of his sermons in their honour, says; “Although we know from tradition that they did not die at the some time, nevertheless, we hour the memory of both on this same day, since St. Paul died a year later on the some day on which Peter was freed from the bonds of the body and was transferred to the world of the angels.”

In the aposticha of Small Vespers we read: “O Peter, foundation of Apostles, rock of Christian faith, head of the Christians … O Paul, preacher of the gentiles, protector of Christians, lamp of the universe, great voice of Christ, the living God… O Peter, supreme disciple; Paul, the ideal of the Apostles.” The stichera of the Great Vespers service extols them with these praises: “Terrible swords of the spirit, splendid ornaments of Rome, nourishers of the whole universe; spiritual tablets of the New Testament written by God… founders of the Church, true pillars, foundation, and trumpets of the divine teachings of Christ, sharers in his sufferings… O Peter, rock and foundation of faith, and Paul, chosen vessel…”

Their voices went out through all the earth and their words to the far ends of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment