Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
June 29, 2017

This solemn feast was already celebrated in the Depositio Martyrum as early as 354, and on the same date at a time when St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican was still under construction.

According to ancient tradition, Simon, whose name was changed to Peter (meaning Rock), died by crucifixion with his head near the ground, as was the Roman custom for the custom for the crucifixion of slaves.  Excavations confirm that the martyrdom of St. Peter around the year 67, took place on Vatican Hill, where the basilica of Constantine was constructed.

Paul of Tarsus, whose name was originally Saul, was a Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians.  He converted to Christianity after his extraordinary experience on the road to Damascus.  After his second imprisionment at Rome he was beheaded (around the year 67) not far from the basilica that was given to the care of monks in the sixth century.