The Significance of Saints Peter and Paul to Christianity

The Significance of Saints Peter and Paul to Christianity

The Significance of Saints Peter and Paul to Christianity

Were it not for the remarkable efforts of Saints Peter and Paul in the early spread of Christianity, none of the majestic churches or the many beautiful lessons that we celebrate today, would have survived. Saint Peter, the Apostle, is considered the leader of the 12 original disciples of Christ throughout his ministry. Saint Paul is widely believed to have been the most influential Christian missionary proselytizing Gentiles into the early faith and establishing churches across Asia Minor.

Christians celebrate the feasts of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on June 29, (if this falls on a Sunday, the feast is referred to as the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul). This day marks the occasion of their martyrdom although history does not record them being executed on the same day, probably under directions from Emperor Nero after the sacking of Rome in the first century, CE.

Why do We Celebrate Saint Peter?

Saint Peter, the Apostle, who went by the name of Simon, was a simple fisherman from Galilee. During the time of Jesus’ ministry, he is said to have lived in Capernaum, at the Northwest end of the Sea of Galilee along with his brother, Saint Andrew, where they used to practice their fishing trade along with Saints James and John.

All the Gospels unanimously recognize Peter, as the first among the Apostles, often asking Jesus on behalf of the others when the meaning of a parable was not clear, or answering temple officials when they wanted information, or giving his boat to Jesus to preach to the gathering crowd.

According to the Gospel of Matthew: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
(Matthew 16:18,19)

Saint Peter is variously depicted as being vacillating and unsure at times, just like you and me. He could be rash and hasty on occasion, and sometimes act in irritation or anger. However, he could also be resolute, and gentle but firm, capable of showing great love and loyalty.

Peter was unschooled in the laws of Moses and it is doubtful that he knew any Greek, but when he was entrusted with responsibility, he showed great maturity and capability. This is the reason why Jesus chose him to be the ‘rock’ (in Hebrew, Peter means rock) upon which he would build his church.

Why do We Celebrate Saint Paul?

Although not one of the original disciples of Jesus, Paul of Tarsus, who originally called himself Saul, was a self-proclaimed detractor and persecutor of the early Christians. According to the story, on his way to Damascus, he encounters a vision that would reverse his views entirely, and transform him into a lifelong and steadfast disciple of Christ.

Saint Paul was a contemporary of Saint Peter and by agreement, preached the message of Christ among the Gentiles or non-Jews, while Peter, and other apostles restricted their preachings to the Jews.

Unlike Peter, Paul was well-versed in the laws of the Pharisees, and skilled in the trade of tent-making. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, 13 are ascribed to Saint Paul. Half of the Acts of the Apostles deals with Paul’s life and works. It is to the letters left behind by Saint Paul to his followers, that the modern ideas of the Christian faith owe their origin.

”Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen! (Galatians 1:1-2:21)

If you wish to have these great patrons of the faith intercede for you in the devoutness of their faith, there’s no place better to do it than St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel. We can take your prayer requests to the holy land of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Write to us today.

The Significance of Saints Peter and Paul to Christianity

What Changed My Life After Praying at St. Peter’s in Jaffa, Israel

What Changed My Life After Praying at St. Peter’s in Jaffa, Israel

What Changed My Life After Praying at St. Peter’s in Jaffa, Israel

St. Peter’s Church at Old Jaffa has been a beacon for Christians pilgrimaging to the Holy Land for centuries. Constructed by French monarch, Louis the IX in 1654 over an older citadel surviving from the Crusades, the Church has been destroyed two times and rebuilt the same number of times during its lifetime.

St. Peter’s Church Architecture

With its high vaulted ceiling, marble walls, and stained glass paintings that depict scenes from the biblical history of St. Peter, including the miracle-catch of fish, the handing over of the keys, and the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, this church is the perfect spot for quiet contemplation and inspiration for prayer.

Much of the building was laid out by Spanish architects and designers, however remnants from the French include rooms in which Napoleon himself is said to have stayed during his campaigns in Egypt and Syria. History apart, this site is important to the Christian faith because it is here that St. Peter is said to have raised Tabitha from the dead and this church is dedicated to this apostle of Christ.

The church is a sight to behold when viewed from the South side at night with its looming entranceway and bell tower. Inside the church, the high ceiling means that the slightest sounds can be heard loud and clear.

The Spiritual Legacy of St. Peter’s

Despite these outer embellishments, St. Peter’s church is more than just a tourist attraction or a thing of curiosity. It is a testament to the most famous apostle of Jesus, who the others looked up to and gave way to when temple tax collectors wanted information from the disciples. Several accounts from the life of the apostles indicate that Peter was first among equals – at once a man of feeling and action and firmness and kindness, on the other.

It was Peter who possessed the insight and showed deep faith in the confession of Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 16:15–18; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20), and it was Peter who rebuked, and in turn was rebuked by, Jesus when the Master prophesied that he would suffer and die (Mark 8:32, 33). It was also Peter who manifested the temporary weakness of even the staunchest in faith when he denied Jesus as his Lord (Matthew 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:54–61). Later, however, with greater maturity, Peter discovered strength and, as he was charged by Jesus (Luke 22:31, 32), inspired others in strengthening their faith.

St. Peter, the Intercessor for Prayer Requests from Around the World

The trust that Jesus placed in Peter and his future role in spreading his teachings is displayed by the fact that Jesus chose Peter to witness the resurrection before any of his other apostles. Peter is often shown to be closest to Jesus and acts as his representative and spokesman on many occasions.

Because of this fact, St. Peter offers us the opportunity to act as an intercessor, pleading with Jesus, our Lord, on our behalf. As the head of the first church after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Peter is the first leader of our communities in prayer. This is the proximity to the origins of the Christian church that acts as a symbol of devotion and faith for Christians worldwide. If you’re ever in Israel, this church ought to be an integral part of your pilgrimage.

Alternatively, you can be a part of prayers offered in the Holy Land, in the church of St. Peter at Jaffa, by sending in prayer requests to the Holy Land online.

The Salvation Garden is a praying community dedicated to making the Holy Lands of Jerusalem, accessible to believers around the world. If you somehow can’t make it to the lands where Jesus was crucified and resurrected, we can take your online prayer requests, print and hand-deliver them to select churches.

What Changed My Life After Praying at St. Peter’s in Jaffa, Israel


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