When is the feast of St's Peter and Paul? What precedes this feast, and when does the preparation for this commemoration begin?







The Feast of the Holy apostles Peter and Paul is June 29th, according to the church calendar. This day falls on July 12th according to the civil calendar. The "Apostles Fast" precedes this great day, having begun on the Monday following the Sunday after Pentecost (the Sunday of All Saints). Therefore, our preparation, through fasting, is of a different length each year, since Pentecost is on a different date each year.



How did Peter die? Who predicted this? How did Paul die? Where did they both meet their martyric ends?







The blessed Apostles Peter and Paul were both martyred in Rome. Peter was crucified upside down, because he protested to his executioners that he was not worthy to be upright as his Lord was. Paul was beheaded.



The Holy Apostles Peter's experiences with Christ, as recounted in the Gospels, are particularly vivid and instructive for us. Compare and contrast Peter's first reported encounter with Christ, and the last. Hint: they were both in the same area, while Peter was busy performing the same work, although Peter's reaction was very different.







Some time during our Lord's forty days on earth after the resurrection, he appeared to seven of the disciples, who were fishing. This was an event similar to the time He called some of them to be his disciples, but with important differences, made possible by the passage of His three years of careful ministry to them. The first time the Lord told the apostles to "let down their nets" is chronicles in Luke 5:1-13. More than three years later, the risen Lord gives the same instruction, as St. John records (John 1:25, comprising the 10th and 11th matins resurrection gospels).

In the first case, our Lord only tells them to let down their nets, but to the tested apostles he tells them to let them down on the right side, and they obediently do so, as before, and are rewarded with a staggering catch of fish, which St John carefully mentions as one hundred fifty three. He marvels that there were so many, and yet the net was not broken. When the apostles were as yet uninitiated, and unlearned in spiritual things, the catch of fish broke their nets, and even when they had brought another ship to help with catch of fish, their boats began to sink. After their education and proving, their nets hold this great catch of fish, and one boat is able to contain it, without sinking. These fishers of fish were truly made worthy and able to be great fishers of men, and their net, that is the Gospel and the Christian way of life, would never break again, but will hold all those who come to the church.

In the previous instance, Peter was filled with fear, even asking the Lord to depart from him, as the as yet uninitiated apostle felt the full weight of his sins in the presence of the God-man. In this latter case, the exuberant Peter cannot wait to be beside his Lord, and throws on his fishers cloak, and casts himself into the sea. He who formerly had fear because of his sins now has confidence, because He knows the Lord.

The first great catch of fish was too much for one ship, so another ship was pressed into service, although even it proved inadequate to contain the catch of fish. In this second ship is shown in a mystery of the organization of the church, with it's bishops who are equal brothers, and rightly divide the word of truth. In the latter case, only one ship, with the seven Apostles, was able to fulfill the word of the Lord, and land all the fish. Here we see in an even more powerful way the church, and the infinite resources those within it have to fulfill the commandments, and contain all the fish, that is, souls, who are caught in the nets of the gospel.

After the other disciples landed their boats, and Peter pulled the net full of great fishes to land in obedience to the Lord's command (for all that is done in the church is in obedience to Christ), the Lord invited them to "Come and dine". All the apostles knew it was the Lord, and were filled with unspeakable joy.

After the meal, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and restored his faith fully. There is a deep mystery in this, which we will only understand if we live the Christian life, and experience forgiveness and knowledge, as did Peter.


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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas