O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
On June 29, 258 AD, Christians of Rome transferred the remains of Peter and Paul to the Catacombs on the Appian way. From that time on, the Roman Christian calendars commemorated that event with a feast. The Anglican Church observes St. Peter on this day, and the Conversion of St. Paul on 25 January (and the Order follows that convention) It has been said that the naming of this day for these two apostles, was in order that the Christians in Rome might abandon the pagan feast for the founding of the City of Rome. According to legend, Romulus and Reimus who had been raised by a she wolf, established the city on the 29th of June
Acts xii. 1 Ezekiel ii. 1-7 & St. Matthew xvi. 13
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God
Ezekiel ii. 1-7
And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
Acts xii. 1ABOUT that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
St. Matthew xvi. 13WHEN Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Other Homilies: Clement I on Peter and Paul
Homily Homily LII.
an excerpt Matthew xvi 13-19
WHEN Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Wherefore hath he mentioned the founder of the city? Because there was another besides, Cæsarea Stratonis. But not in that, but in this doth He ask them, leading them far away from the Jews, so that being freed from all alarm, they might speak with boldness all that was in their mind.
And wherefore did He not ask them at once their own opinion, but that of the people? In order that when they had told the people’s opinion, and then were asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” by the manner of His inquiry they might be led up to a sublimer notion, and not fall into the same low view as the multitude. Accordingly He asks them not at all in the beginning of His preaching, but when He had done many miracles, and had discoursed with them of many and high doctrines, and had afforded so many clear proofs of His Godhead, and of His unanimity with the Father, then He puts this question to them.
And He said not, “Whom say the Scribes and Pharisees that I am?” often as these had come unto Him, and discoursed with Him; but, “Whom do men say that I am?” inquiring after the judgment of the people, as unbiassed. For though it was far meaner than it should be, yet was it free from malice, but the other was teeming with much wickedness.
And signifying how earnestly He desires His Economy to be confessed, He saith, “The Son of Man;” thereby denoting His Godhead, which He doth also in many other places. For He saith, “No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but the Son of Man, which is in Heaven.” And again, “But when ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up, where He was before.”
Then, since they said, “Some John the Baptist, some Elias, some Jeremias, or one of the prophets,” and set forth their mistaken opinion, He next added, “But whom say ye that I am?” calling them on by His second inquiry to entertain some higher imagination concerning Him, and indicating that their former judgment falls exceedingly short of His dignity. Wherefore He seeks for another judgment from themselves, and puts a second question, that they might not fall in with the multitude, who, because they saw His miracles greater than human, accounted Him a man indeed, but one that had appeared after a resurrection, as Herod also said. But He, to lead them away from this notion, saith, “But whom say ye that I am?” that is, “ye that are with me always, and see me working miracles, and have yourselves done many mighty works by me.”
What then saith the mouth of the apostles, Peter, the ever fervent, the leader of the apostolic choir? When all are asked, he answers. And whereas when He asked the opinion of the people, all replied to the question; when He asked their own, Peter springs forward, and anticipates them, and saith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
What then saith Christ? “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.”
Yet surely unless he had rightly confessed Him, as begotten of the very Father Himself, this were no work of revelation; had he accounted our Lord to be one of the many, his saying was not worthy of a blessing. Since before this also they said, “Truly He is Son of God,” those, I mean, who were in the vessel after the tempest, which they saw, and were not blessed, although of course they spake truly. For they confessed not such a Sonship as Peter, but accounted Him to be truly Son as one of the many, and though peculiarly so beyond the many, yet not of the same substance.
And Nathanael too said, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel;” and so far from being blessed, he is even reproved by Him, as having said what was far short of the truth. He replied at least, “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.” Why then is this man blessed? Because he acknowledged Him very Son. Wherefore you see, that while in those former instances He had said no such thing, in this case He also signifies who had revealed it. That is, lest his words might seem to the many (because he was an earnest lover of Christ) to be words of friendship and flattery, and of a disposition to show favor to Him, he brings forward the person who had made them ring in his soul; to inform thee that Peter indeed spake, but the Father suggested, and that thou mightest believe the saying to be no longer a human opinion, but a divine doctrine.
And wherefore doth He not Himself declare it, nor say, “I am the Christ,” but by His question establish this, bringing them in to confess it? Because so to do was both more suitable to Him, yea necessary at that time, and it drew them on the more to the belief of the things that were said.
Seest thou how the Father reveals the Son, how the Son the Father? For “neither knoweth any man the Father,” saith He, “save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” It cannot therefore be that one should learn the Son of any other than of the Father; neither that one should learn the Father of any other than of the Son. So that even hereby, their sameness of honor and of substance is manifest.
What then saith Christ? “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas.” “Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;” all but saying, “As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father.” Else it were superfluous to say, “Thou art Son of Jonas;” but since he had said, “Son of God,” to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” “And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified.”
Then He mentions also another honor. “And I also will give thee the keys of the heavens.” But what is this, “And I also will give thee?” “As the Father hath given thee to know me, so will I also give thee.”
And He said not, “I will entreat the Father” (although the manifestation of His authority was great, and the largeness of the gift unspeakable), but, “I will give thee.” What dost Thou give? tell me. “The keys of the heavens, that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.” How then is it not “His to give to sit on His right hand, and on His left,” when He saith, “I will give thee”?
Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church in capable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as “a brazen pillar, and as a wall;” but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.
I would fain inquire then of those who desire to lessen the dignity of the Son, which manner of gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave him? For the Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son; but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and that of Himself in every part of the world; and to a mortal man He entrusted the authority over all things in Heaven, giving him the keys; who extended the church to every part of the world, and declared it to be stronger than heaven. “For heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” How then is He less, who hath given such gifts, hath effected such things?
And these things I say, not dividing the works of Father and Son (“for all things are made by Him, and without Him was nothing made which was made”): but bridling the shameless tongue of them that dare so to speak.
But see, throughout all, His authority: “I say unto thee, Thou art Peter; I will build the Church; I will give thee the keys of Heaven.”
End of Excerpt