Today (June 29) marks the joint feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. Since, at least, the third century that followed the death of Christ, the solemnities of these saints have been celebrated on the same day. While these apostles were likely executed a year apart, theologians considered them a single entity, as regards the development of the early Christian church. In 395 B.C. Saint Augustine of Hippo said of them:
“Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.”
Images: Carlo Crivelli, Saints Peter and Paul, c.1470, tempera on poplar wood, The National Gallery, London. Copyright © 2016–2020 The National Gallery.
Guido Reni, Saints Peter and Paul, 17th century, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Brera, Italy. Wikimedia Commons.
Early Christian Painter (Italian), Christ Between Saints Peter and Paul, 1st Century A.D. fresco, Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome. Web Gallery of Art.
Pietro di Domenico da Siena, Madonna and Child with Saints Peter and Paul, late fifteenth/early sixteenth century, tempera on panel, private collection. Web Gallery of Art.
Giovanni Serodine, Parting of Saints Peter and Paul Led to Martyrdom, 1625-1626, oil on canvas, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome.