Regarded as the two men responsible or spreading the word of Christ in the early days of the Church and two of the best-known saints, you may be wondering why St Peter and St Paul share a feast day. As far back as 258AD, there’s evidence of both saints being celebrated on the same day.
The martyrdom of St Peter and St Paul
According to legend, St Peter and St Paul were executed in Rome and buried on the same day at the command of the Emperor Nero. Historical accounts, however, suggest Paul was martyred in 67AD and Peter in 64AD.
St. Peter is widely considered to have been crucified upside down as he said he wasn’t worthy to by executed in the same way as Christ, and St Paul was afforded martyrdom by beheading, his right as a Roman citizen.
St Augustine of Hippo held a sermon in 395, where he explained that Peter and Paul share the same feast day as “these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one”. The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul celebrates their martyrdom and their embracement of Christ.
29th June: A Day of Obligation
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is a Holy Day of Obligation in England, Scotland and Wales, where Catholics of the Roman church are required to attend Mass, however it isn’t a day of obligation in the USA and Canada. Even if the Feast is transferred to another date, followers of the Roman church are required to attend.
In Malta, the public holiday L-Imnarja is held and linked to The Feast. People will camp out beneath the stars, enjoy time with their families and eat rabbit stew. This can make Malta an exciting and appropriate destination for a pilgrimage during June.