On Monday, December 28, we remember the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, perhaps the two individuals who had the greatest role in the growth and spread of Christianity. After the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the angel appeared to the myrrh-bearers and told them that Jesus was risen and to go tell the disciples and Peter of His appearance and give them His message (Mark 16:6-7). Peter was renowned for his oratory skills, and he used his talent to spread the Word. He preached in Rome and founded the church there. He is considered to be first Bishop of Rome. According to tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord. He was buried in Rome and his relics are enshrined under the high altar of the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica.
Paul (Saul) was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. He was an oppressor of the early Christians until on the road to Damascus he converted when a brilliant light blinded him and he heard, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me? I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Enter the City and you will be told what to do,” (Acts 9:4-6; 26:12-16). Saul was baptized and renamed Paul and he went on to become the greatest preacher of the new religion, traveling and writing extensively. Many theologians credit him for shaping the future of the Church. His fourteen epistles comprise more than one-third of the New Testament, not including the Book of Acts that although written by Luke, is primarily an account of Paul’s preaching.