Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul

Today, in Scotland, we celebrate this wonderful solemnity.

The 29th of June is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.However, the Scottish Bishop’s Conference transferred it to today, Sunday the 28th of June. It has been celebrated on the 29th June from the 4th century. That day may represent history or because the pagans celebrated this day as the foundation of the city of Rome by Romulus, the church saw St Peter and Paul as the founders of the Roman Church.

Saints Peter and Paul are very often described as the twin columns of the Church. St Peter, the one on which Jesus would build His Church here on earth “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church” (Matthew 16:18). St Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles and who wrote many Epistles to the Churches he founded.

Tradition tells us that both were martyred in Rome. St Peter during the time of the emperor Nero around ad 64-65 and crucified upside down. St Paul it is believed was martyred around ad 67 and because he was a Roman citizen, he would not have suffered crucifixion but a beheading by the sword. However, both were martyred simply for their fidelity to Christ and their refusal to deny their faith.

Pope Francis on Saints Peter & Paul

“The Apostles Peter and Paul stand before us as witnesses. They never tired of preaching and journeying as missionaries from the land of Jesus to Rome itself. Here they gave their ultimate witness, offering their lives as martyrs. If we go to the heart of that testimony, we can see them as witnesses to life, witnesses to forgiveness and witnesses to Jesus”

Pope Benedict XVI on Saints Peter & Paul

“The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is at the same time a grateful memorial of the great witnesses of Jesus Christ and a solemn confession for the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. It is first and foremost a feast of catholicity. The sign of Pentecost , the new community that speaks all languages and unites all peoples into one people, in one family of God , this sign has become a reality. Our liturgical assembly, at which Bishops are gathered from all parts of the world, people of many cultures and nations, is an image of the family of the Church distributed throughout the earth.”

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