Feast Day of the Holy Apostle Peter

The Holy Apostle Peter

In icons the Apostle Peter is usual depicted with short, curly hair and a beard, identifying him as the fiery and impulsive leader of the Twelve.

Feast Day: June 29

Peter’s name was originally Simon. Born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:42, 44), he was the son of Jonah (John) and the older brother of Andrew, the First-Called.

Like his father, Jonah, Simon was a fisherman by trade. Most likely, marriage brought him to Capernaum just west of Bethsaida, where he lived in the house of his mother-in-law. Jesus lived at Peter’s house during the time of His public ministry and it was often the site of many miracles.

When Jesus called Simon to follow Him, He changed Simon’s name to Kephas, an Aramaic word meaning “rock.” In translation, the name is Petros (Greek), Petro (Ukrainian) and Peter (English).

When Jesus asked His apostles who they thought He was, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). Jesus then said to him, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build by church, and the powers of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). He added: “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” (Mt 16:19). Jesus chose Simon-Peter to be the leader among the apostles, the “first among equals.”

In his work as an apostle and missionary, Peter first preached in Judea and help found Jewish-Christian communities there. He then went on to establish the Gentile-Christian Church of Antioch, presiding as its founding bishop for seven years. After appointing a successor, he moved on to preach in various communities in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia. His missionary activity ended in Rome, were he became the first bishop of the church established there, holding this office for 25 years.

Peter was condemned to death by order of the Emperor Nero. After choosing Linus to be his successor and installing him as the new Bishop of Rome, Peter encouraged his flock and went with joy to a martyr’s death. When he saw the cross before him, he requested to be crucified head downwards, because he felt unworthy to die the same way as the Lord. And this great servant and apostle of Christ went to his rest, receiving an eternal crown of glory in the kingdom of heaven.

Two of his letters have been included in the canon of the New Testament. He is also regarded as the primary source for the Gospel of Mark, for Mark was his disciple, interpreter and scribe.

Also celebrating:
The Feast Day of the Holy Apostle Paul

Feast day of the Holy Apostle Paul

The Holy Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul is depicted with a beard, brown hair, balding with a high forehead, signifying his great wisdom, learning and understanding.

Feast Day: June 29

Paul, originally known as Saul before his conversion, was a tent-maker from Tarsus and a fanatical opponent of Christians. He was present at the stoning of St. Stephen and was involved in the arrest of many Jewish-Christians, bringing them to trial.

While breathing threats against the disciples of Jesus on the road to Damascus, the risen Lord appeared to him in a vision and Saul was converted. After the vision, he was left totally blind and humbled by the Lord. To reach Damascus, he needed to be led by the hand. For three days, he neither ate nor drank. On the third day, he was healed of his blindness and baptized by the disciple Ananias, changing his name to Paul or Paulus in Latin, meaning “small” or “humble.”

Tirelessly, St. Paul preached his new faith in Christ Jesus, writing letter after letter to the churches he founded in Asia Minor (Turkey). He conducted missions to both Jews and Gentiles. Flogged, imprisoned, starving, stoned, shipwrecked and on trial, he never lost his faith. The supreme gift he preached was love. “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol… If I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:1-3). He wrote, “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful … Love never ends” (1 Cor 13:4-8).

Tradition also has it that St. Paul was martyred in Rome. As a Roman citizen condemned to death, he had the right to be beheaded with a sword and not be crucified.

His fourteen letters are a precious legacy; they afford a deep insight not only into a great soul, but also into the great mysteries of the Christian Faith.

Also celebrating:
The Feast Day of the Holy Apostle Peter

Saints Peter and Paul

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Monday, June 29th.

  • Great Vespers and Lytia –
    Sunday evening, June 28th, at 6pm.

On Monday, June 29th:

  • Great Matins at 8:00 am;
  • Divine Liturgy (Eng) at 9:30 am;
  • Divine Liturgy (Ukr) at 11 am; and
  • Divine Liturgy (Bilingual) at 6:00 pm.

 The Apostles’ Fast ends on the eve of this feast.

More on the Holy Apostle:

St. PeterThe Holy Apostle Peter

St. Paul The Holy Apostle Paul

All Saints of Rus'-Ukraine

All Saints of Rus’-Ukraine

Today’s feast day, the SUNDAY OF ALL SAINTS of RUS’-UKRAINE, raises up before our eyes not just the canonized saints of Rus’-Ukraine, but all those other holy ones, the great cloud of unknown saints of our ancestral lands, known only to God, whose lives were dedicated to God and the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth.

And who are among them? Well, we have such saints in all our own families. They are parents, grandparents, great grandparents, relatives and ancestors who lived holy lives (and their lives revolved around the Church), as well as those members of our families who sacrificed their own comfort and resources to support the Church in its mission to spread the gospel to our people.
They are nuns and teachers who taught us about our Lord, Jesus Christ, about the Sacraments and the life of God we receive at Divine Liturgy in Holy Communion.

They are friends, both Catholic and Orthodox, who supported us in our choices to do what is right, what is good, what is noble and best.

They are also our bishops, priests and religious men and women who inspired us, prayed for us, and prayed with us.

They are our brothers and sisters of our parish communities, who would drop everything to come and help those who were in need, caring for those who were sick or were in trouble.
When we think about holiness many of us tend to think that only extraordinary people are holy people, those “other people,” those in monasteries or convents, or in religious orders, going about in silence, dressed in habits and reading prayer books. But maybe it’s a way of defending ourselves from the idea that God is asking us to be holy too. If only a few extraordinary people are called to be saints, we then think that we don’t need to make the effort, because that’s not really for us.

However, God’s call for holiness is universal. Everyone is called to live in God’s love and make His love real in the lives of those around them. Holiness isn’t something that is distant and far removed for us. Quite the contrary, it is very near and close at hand. For holiness is not some strange way of living.

Holiness is related to the word “wholesomeness,” or “wholeness.” It means living lives that are whole or complete, full of integrity and truth, wholesome and integrated, lives in which we are close to others, while being close with God. It means forgiving others when they injure us. It means not holding grudges against them. To live a life of holiness means that one gives up clinging to prejudices, resentments, and the desire to get even with others.

Holiness means that you are open and exposed to God. It means that you can listen to what God wants to say to you. God has a Word for you. He has something He wants to say to you. Holiness, living holistically with God, means that you give God time in which you worship Him with praise and thanksgiving; time to ask Him for things that you need, but also a time in which He can ask you for what He wants for you. Holiness involves what you’re doing right now, namely joining together in Christ’s family of faith to share His loving Presence in the Mystery of the Eucharist. (Holy Things for the Holy!)

Holiness also means being filled with God’s grace and the Holy Spirit. It means, through private and public prayer together, being filled and inspired with God’s Holy Spirit so that God’s mind might fill our minds, and His heart might fill our hearts.

This is the Sunday of ALL SAINTS OF RUS’-UKRAINE, a special Sunday each year when we place in our vision what God has in mind for our Church, the people of Ukraine, and all those who have ancestral roots in Ukraine and the Kyivan Church. We recognize today that we are called to be part of that vast multitude of holy ones whose numbers are so great they cannot be counted. This is All Saints Sunday of all who trace their roots to the Church of Kyiv, established by St. Volodymyr and Olha – is meant to be your feast day and mine.

What remains for us to do is to break free from some of the ordinary patterns we may have established in our daily lives and try something fresh and new. God has fallen in love with you and me just where we are. All that remains is for us to live lives a little bit closer to each other, as well as a little bit closer to God. Each and every time we do, we grow in holiness and we become a little bit more like what God dreamed we could be when He made us in the first place.

May the love of God fill us with a greater measure of His presence, His power and His Holy Spirit on this SUNDAY, AS WE COMMEMORATE ALL THE SAINTS OF UKRAINE, as well as all the remaining days of our lives.