We celebrate The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on 29th June, in honour of their martyrdom. It’s a major feast day, celebrated with the highest solemnity and in Italy there’s even a national holiday on this day. It’s believed that Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome by Emperor Nero, at around the same time, which is why this feast is for both of them.
However, there’s a lot more that links them:
Saint Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples, who Jesus trusted to lead the church after he had ascended to heaven. Peter means Rock, he was a solid foundation for the Christian faith. Peter baptised many people and eventually became the first Bishop of Rome.
Saint Paul was originally called Saul and persecuted Christians but he had a vision while he was on the way to Damascus and became a Christian himself, he also changed his name to Paul. The New Testament has lots of letters from Paul to different Christian communities – Romans, Colossians, Corinthians and many more. He wrote to them to explain the Gospels and teach them how to lead a Christian life.
In Peter and Paul we see Leadership in different forms.
Peter leads the early church in a physical sense through organising the community and baptism.
Paul leads through writing and teaching.
I want you to do some research yourselves this week,.
• Go to the places in Rome using Google Earth. (https://earth.google.com/web/)
1. Saint Paul’s outside the walls – Basilica Papale San Paolo fuori le Mura
2. Saint Peter in chains (San Pietro in Vincoli)
3. Saint Peter’s basilica
4. Saint Paul’s inside the walls – Basilica Papale San Paolo fuori le Mura
• Get a picture of the outside of each place (like this one I took of Saint John Lateran in Rome below)
• Find a picture of the inside of each church using your computer
• Find out why each church was built in that particular place in Rome
• Find out the special symbol for Saint Peter
• Find out the special symbol for Saint Paul
• Outside which church can I see statues of the two saints holding their symbols
• Find out what this means:
“Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram, aedificabo ecclesiam meam”
• Where can I find this writing in Rome?