Patron Saints

 

Apostle Peter

The holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Peter is the leader of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. His feast is celebrated on June 29 along with the Apostle Paul.

Life:

The divinely-blessed Peter was from Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the son of Jonas and the brother of Andrew the First-called. He was a fisherman by trade, unlearned and poor, and was called Simon; later he was renamed Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who looked at him and said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter)” (John 1:42).

On being raised by the Lord to the dignity of an Apostle and becoming inseparable from him as his zealous disciple, he followed him from the beginning of his preaching of salvation up until the very Passion, when, in the court of Caiaphas the high priest, he denied Him thrice because of his fear of the Jews and of the danger at hand. But again, after many bitter tears, he received complete forgiveness of his transgression. After the Resurrection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit, he preached in Judea, Antioch, and certain parts of Asia, and finally came to Rome, where he was crucified upside down by Nero, and thus he ascended to the eternal habitations about the year 66 or 68, leaving two Catholic (General) Epistles to the Church of Christ, known as I Peter and II Peter. He is also generally regarded as being the primary source (i.e., in interview) for the material recorded in the Gospel of Mark.

Apostle Paul

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Paul was not one of the Twelve Apostles. Paul was the “Apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:8, 1 Timothy 2:7), being converted while on the road to Damascus by Jesus Himself. The Church remembers St. Paul together with St. Peter on June 29.

Life:

Named Saul at his birth in the city of Tarsus, the holy apostle was a son of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul became a Pharisee under Gamaliel, one of the chief Jewish Rabbis (Masters/Teachers) of the day. After his study under the great Rabbi, Saul became one of the chief persecutors of Christians. Present at the stoning of St Stephen (Acts 7: 58), Saul later found himself blinded by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22). Sought out by the Apostle Ananias, Saul immediately repented and Ananias baptized him. Saul, soon after his conversion called Paul, was later named and numbered among the Apostles. The extent of Paul’s preaching as he spread the Gospel went far and wide from Arabia to Spain, to both Jews and Gentiles. He was called the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul spent his new life in suffering and labor for Christ, establishing and organizing churches everywhere. He reached such a state of perfection that he was able to say to the Church at Galatia: “not I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Like the Apostle Barnabas, Paul studied under Gamaliel.

The account of Paul’s missionary journeys and the letters he wrote to the Churches he founded form an important part of the New Testament. St. Paul was martyred with the Apostle Peter under Nero by beheading.

Letters

The Church has canonized several of his epistles to the churches, including:

  • Romans
  • I & II Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • I & II Thessalonians
  • I & II Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews

Modern scholarship has contested the authenticity of several of these letters. Hebrews in particular, whose authorship was disputed even in the early church, was most likely not written by St. Paul. However, the Church lectionary introduces readings from each of these epistles as “from the epistle of St. Paul to…” as the lessons and commentary by the Church Fathers edify the Faithful towards Salvation.

Feasts & Fasts

The life of St. Paul, his letters in particular, are celebrated in the Orthodox Church with annual feasts and fasts. Being one of the four seasonal fasts, the fast of Sts. Peter & Paul is the summer fast that begins nine days after Pentecost, and continues until their joint feast day of June 29.

Intercessions

St. Paul is the intercessor for, among others, voyagers by sea and homilists.

 

Apolytikion (Tone 4)

First-enthroned of the apostles, teachers of the universe: Entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world, and to our souls great mercy!

Απολυτίκιο (ήχος δ΄)

Οι τών Αποστόλων πρωτόθρονοι, καί τής Οικουμένης διδάσκαλοι,τώ Δεσπότη τών όλων πρεσβεύσατε, ειρήνην τή οικουμένη δωρήσασθαι, καί ταίς ψυχαίς ημών τό μέγα έλεος.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

O Lord, You have taken up to eternal rest and to the enjoyment of Your blessings the two divinely-inspired preachers, the leaders of the Apostles, for You have accepted their labors and deaths as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, for You alone know what lies in the hearts of men.

Κοντάκιο (ήχος β΄)

Τούς ασφαλείς καί θεοφθόγγους κήρυκας, τήν κορυφήν τών Μαθητών σου Κύριε, προσελάβου εις απόλαυσιν, τών αγαθών σου καί ανάπαυσιν, τούς πόνους γάρ εκείνων καί τόν θάνατον, εδέξω υπέρ πάσαν πλοκάρπωσιν, ο μόνος γινώσκων τά εγκάρδια.

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