Recent and Upcoming Feast Days:
June 29, 2020: Chief Apostles Peter and Paul
On the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Church commemorates the two Apostles who, as demonstrated by one of the icons for this feast, are the "pillars" of the Church. St. Peter is the "rock" upon which Christ built His Church and he presides over Her, and St. Paul is the great missionary.
Led to Christ by his brother, St. Andrew, St. Peter left his fisherman's trade to follow Him. Peter professed Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, he saw Jesus transfigured, and he overcame the faltering of his faith and his denial of Christ to preside over the Church. In his later years, as foretold to him by the Lord, St. Peter was led to his martyrdom in Rome. But he would not accept to be crucified in like manner as Christ, as he felt that he was unworthy. In A.D. 64-68, by his own request, St. Peter was crucified upside down, thus, profoundly witnessing to the faith.
St. Paul was a Pharisee and a zealous persecutor of the early Christian Church until his dramatic conversion. On the road to Damascus, precisely to take as prisoners the believers there, a bright light from Heaven surrounded Paul, he was blinded and fell to the ground. He heard the voice of Christ who asked Paul why he was persecuting Him and then identified Himself as Jesus. Paul remained blind for three days, but was healed by a disciple sent by Christ named Ananias. From that moment, Paul became the great Apostle to the Gentiles. St. Paul was also called to martyrdom in Rome, but, since he was a Roman citizen, it was not permitted that he be crucified. St. Paul was beheaded in Rome at the same time or during the same time frame as St. Peter.
In a second icon for this feast of the Chief Apostles Peter and Paul, the Apostles are seen embracing. As recorded in the Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul and St. Peter had a serious dispute in Antioch. St. Paul confronted St. Peter directly because Peter, whose previous practice was to eat with Gentile coverts to Christianity, chose to fellowship with them no longer. He did this in order to appease the Jewish converts to Christianity who had come from St. James to Antioch. By acting in this way, however, Paul expressed to Peter that he had become a source of division in the church. The dispute was later settled during the first council of the Apostles, the Council of Jerusalem. Thus, Sts. Peter and Paul are shown on the icon as embracing, having resolved the dispute and restored the necessary peace and unity of the Church.
July 5, 2020: The Mother of God of the Passion or Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, or as it is known in the Eastern Churches, The Mother of God of the Passion, is commemorated on this day. Another of the feast days of the icon is on June 27, as celebrated in the Western Churches. Originating from Greece, the icon has been in Rome since, at least, the 15th century. It is currently enshrined in the church of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Rome.
The title of the icon reflects what we see depicted in it. On the right side of the Mother of God is St. Michael who holds the lance and the sponge, while on Her left side is St. Gabriel holding the Cross and the nails. The icon represents the Christ Child who, upon seeing the instruments of his future Passion, hurries to be comforted by His Most Holy Mother. And He does so in haste, indicated by the dangling sandal on one of His feet.
The icon of The Mother of God of the Passion is in a class of icons known as the Hodegetria: "the One who shows the way". Our Lady points to Her Son Who is The Way. She leads us to Christ and instructs us to go to Him. She is the comfort and perpetual help of Christians. Under this title, Our Lady has performed countless miracles and has been a source of profound consolation for those who, like the Christ Child, have run to Her and sought Her Assistance in every difficulty and circumstance of need in this life.
Monthly Feast Day Summaries
Copyright © St.Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church (Byzantine rite). All rights reserved.