All About Our Saints
Ss. Peter & Paul
Catholic Primary School
All About Our Saints
St Peter St Paul
The Feast Day of Ss. Peter and Paul is June 29.
- Peter was a fisherman and a Jew who lived near the Sea of Galilee in a small village called Bethsaida. He lived a very long time ago, in the very first century CE — about 2000 years ago!
- His father was a fisherman and so Peter and his brother Andrew were also fishermen. They worked the fishing nets at the lakeside town of Capernaum.
- Peter and his brother Andrew were one of the first apostles chosen by Jesus to follow him. The four gospels tell us that when Jesus saw Peter and his brother Andrew fishing and He told them to, ''Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.''
Peter as a Fisherman
- Peter’s true name was Simon. It was Jesus who renamed him Simon Cephas which is an Aramaic word meaning ‘rock’. The Greek word for rock, ‘petros’ became Simon’s new name, Peter. Jesus did this because from the moment He met Peter, He knew that Peter would be the rock (or foundation) of the Christian Church. A foundation is the solid part of a building that holds it up from the ground. In Jesus’ time, a foundation would have been made of rocks, just like Peter's name.
- We remember Peter for some important events in the Bible. One of them is that he was the first of the Apostles to see Jesus after his resurrection from the dead. According to the Bible, Peter, out of all the disciples correctly identified who Jesus was. When Jesus asked, ''Who do you say I am?'', He was pleased when Peter responded, ''You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''
- One of the other things we remember Peter for is when he denied knowing Jesus. At that time, Jesus had been arrested and Peter was very scared of what the soldiers would do to him. Jesus predicted this would happen and had told Peter that he would deny knowing Him three times before the rooster crowed twice.
- Peter is traditionally considered to be the head of Jesus’ 12 Apostles and was the first bishop of Rome. He is the patron saint of Popes, Rome, fishermen, and locksmiths.
- Peter went on many missionary trips, preaching about Jesus and converting many people to Christianity. He also wrote a couple letters that are now books in the New Testament.
- It is not known when Peter was born. But the date of his death is about the year 64 C.E. He died by being nailed to a cross in Rome. This type of death is called crucifixion. Peter asked to be crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to be martyred in the same manner as Christ.
- In art work, we usually see St Peter holding asset of keys. This is in reference to Jesus’ words to St. Peter, “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 16:19). Jesus speaks these words to St. Peter, granting him a special authority to lead the Church after he ascends into Heaven.
- Paul is also known as Paul the Apostle. Paul's name was originally Saul or Sh’aul, and he was born to Roman Parents in Tarsus town Cicilia. He studied the Bible from an early age and after studying under a famous rabbi, he became an expert of the law.
- Paul is one of the greatest writers and teachers of God’s word in the history of Christianity. Yet, he used to persecute Christians.
- Paul was not a disciple of Jesus and did not meet Jesus, but he interacted with many of Jesus’ disciples particularly while in Jerusalem. St. Paul is said to have persecuted some of these very disciples!
- Paul was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians when he had a vision and was converted to Christianity. In the vision Jesus Christ spoke to him, telling Saul that his persecution of Christians was a persecution of Jesus himself, and that it did not please God. Saul was blinded by the vision. A short time later he met Ananias, a disciple of Jesus who prayed for him and his sight came back to him. (see Acts 22:12). He then got baptized.
- Paul stopped persecuting Christians. He changed his name from Saul to Paul dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ. He used his earlier education to explain his new faith to other people, and to discuss things with people who had other beliefs. He converted many people to Christianity. St. Paul was both a Jew and Roman Citizen and both the Jews and Romans accepted him as one of their own. This helped him to penetrate areas with the gospel, which might have been difficult for other people otherwise.
- After he was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus, Paul became more powerful and baffled the Jews in Damascus by proving that Jesus was Christ. This made the Jews conspire to kill him, but St Paul found out about their plans and his followers and Jesus’ disciples helped him escape through the wall in a large basket.
Wall in Damascus- by Heretiq-Wikimedia Commons St. Paul preaching in Athens- Wikimedia Commons
- Paul however preached to the Jews and non-Jews also known as Gentiles because he wanted to show that God meant salvation for everyone; he attempted to break the divide. He was a great teacher and writer and used his earlier education to explain his new faith to other people, and to discuss things with people who had other beliefs. He enabled and accelerated growth of Christianity among the Gentiles.
- Paul enjoyed working with his own hands. He learnt how to make and sell tents from the time he was a child and into his Youth. He still practised this even after converting to Christianity and starting to teach. He kept his leather-working tools with him as he travelled and set up shop anywhere.
- St Paul wrote 13 out of the 27 books of the New Testament and was the most popular apostle in the early church.
- In art work, we usually see St Paul holding a book or scroll, since he was a New Testament writer, and a sword, the instrument of his martyrdom.
- 2008-2009 was the Year of St. Paul the Apostle, when he would have been about 2000 years old. January 25 is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
- Paul was put to death by orders of the emperor Neroin Rome, in 67 AD. Because he was a Roman citizen, he could be put to death by having his head cut off with a sword, rather than by crucifixion.