St Peters History
The feast day of St. Peter celebrates the life a disciple of Jesus Christ who is best known for spreading Christianity throughout the world. Peter took on a leadership role before Christ's death and resurrection. Roman Catholics consider him to be the first bishop and Pope.
On this Observance, Catholics also celebrate St. Paul. Both are considered two of the most important figures in the early church. Both are credited with spreading Christianity through Europe and many different parts of the Middle East.
St Peters Facts & Quotes
- Peter's original name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means 'the rock'.
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:17b-19).
- Paul was from a Jewish family that had assimilated into Roman culture. He participated in persecuting Christians (Acts 8:3) before he was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
- Peter and Paul disagreed frequently over whether non-Jews converting to Christianity needed to follow Jewish customs. Peter believed that these Gentile converts should become Jewish first, while Paul's belief was that they could skip that step.
- Both Peter and Paul are thought to be buried in Rome. Peter's grave is marked at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, and Paul is believed to be buried in the outside walls of Basilica of St. Paul.
- The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a major feast day in the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. It is held on June 29, and may be observed on the Sunday after that date as well.
St Peters Top Events and Things to Do
- Take a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the burial places of St. Peter and Paul.
- Go fishing in honor of St. Peter. He was a fisherman before he became Jesus' disciple, and is the patron saint of fisherman and net makers.
- Go camping in honor of St. Paul. Before his conversion to Christianity, Paul was a tent maker. He is the patron saint of tent makers as well as writers. In addition to being an accomplished preacher, Paul wrote epistles that are included in the Bible's New Testament.
- Attend Mass and learn how both Peter and Paul, two men with very different visions, formed the early church and how Christianity rapidly spread.
St Peters References and Related Sites
Martin Hengel: Saint Peter: The Underestimated Apostle
(Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing: 2010)