June 21, 2012
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN ALEXIOS` MESSAGE FOR THE FEAST DAY OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL
“First-enthroned of the apostles, teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy! “
Troparion Tone 4
The celebration of the Feast Day of the Holy Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul is of ancient origin, commemorating the martyrdom of the two great Apostles, who played very different and distinct roles of the Church in its mission to the world. They were very different men and even became Apostles in different ways. St. Peter was chosen by Christ and followed Him throughout His earthly ministry. St. Paul was a Pharisee and a zealous persecutor of Christians, converted by a revelation of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus. They were also different in many aspects: St. Peter was a fisherman, St. Paul a scholar. St. Peter was married, while St. Paul was single. St. Peter was from the “back woods” of Galilee. Paul was a sophisticated Roman citizen.
The icon for the Feast often shows St. Peter and St. Paul embracing one another in brotherly love. Because, despite all their differences, they had one thing in common: devotion to our Lord and zeal to communicate the Good News to others. St. Peter and St. Paul dedicated their lives to serving our Lord fearlessly and faithfully with love and devotion, becoming an example for us to enlighten us and bless us. From their example, we understand that while we may be different, with different gifts and abilities, we can all work together harmoniously to spread the good news of the Gospel.
On this Feast Day, as we lift up our hearts in prayer to the servants of God, Sts. Peter and Paul, we pray for the gift of His grace so that we may remain faithful and steadfast to the traditions and teachings of our Lord and His Holy Orthodox Church, as exemplified by St. Peter and St. Paul.