Simon Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and the first bishop of Rome.
The son of John, he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee. Peter became part of Jesus’s inner circle and one of twelve apostles chosen by Him. Originally a fisherman, he was assigned a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration.
According to Christian tradition, Peter thought to have been crucified in Rome under Emperor Caesar. It is said that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ.
Saint Peter’s remains are contained in the underground of St. Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery in 1968. Every June 29 since 1736, a statue of Saint Peter has been crowned in St. Peter’s Basilica with a papal tiara, ring of the fisherman and papal vestments, as part of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
Paul the Apostle, originally known as Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who took the gospel of Christ to the first-century world and is considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age.
He founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. Paul used his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to appeal in his ministry to both Jewish and Roman audiences.
A native of Tarsus, the capital city in the Roman province of Cilicia, Paul wrote that he was ‘a Hebrew born of Hebrews’, a Pharisee, and one who advanced in Judaism beyond many of his peers. He zealously persecuted the early followers of Jesus of Nazareth and violently tried to destroy the newly forming Christian church. Paul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus radically changed the course of his life.
After his conversion, Paul began to preach that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. His leadership, influence, and legacy led to the formation of communities dominated by Gentile groups that worshiped Jesus. Paul taught of the life and works of Jesus Christ and his teaching of a new testament, established through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament (Romans through Philemon) have been attributed to Paul, and approximately half of the Acts of the Apostles deals with Paul’s life and works. However, only seven of the epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic, with varying degrees of argument about the remainder.
Today, his epistles continue to be deeply rooted in the theology, worship, and pastoral life in the Roman and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Orthodox traditions of the East.