Peter and Paul

Let us pray (in silence) [that we will remain true to the faith of the apostles]


Almighty God,
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you by their martyrdom:
Grant that your Church,
instructed by their teaching and example,
and knit together in unity by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
which is Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Almighty God,
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church,
inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(Common Worship CofE)

The 1962 Missal continues the ancient collect:
Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrasti: da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum; per quos religionis sumpsit exordium. Per Dominum.

This can be found in the Leonine (#280), Gelasian (#921), and Gregorian (#594) sacramentaries. And from there in the Sarum rite:
God, who consecrated this day by the martyrdom of your blessed apostles Peter and Paul: Grant that your church difused throughout the whole world may always be governed by the teaching of those through whom she received the beginning of her religion.

In 1549, St Paul, having his own celebration, was removed from this day, and the collect became:

ALMIGHTIE God, whiche by thy sonne Jesus Christe haste geven to thy Apostle saincte Peter many excellente giftes, and commaundeste him earnestly to feede thy fiocke; make, wee beseche thee, all bishops and pastors diligently to preache thy holy woorde and the people obediently to folowe the same, that they maye receive the croune of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This was adapted to become the collect at the ordination of a bishop in 1662:

ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy holy Apostles many excellent gifts, and didst charge them to feed thy flock; Give grace, we beseech thee, to all Bishops, the Pastors of thy Church, that they may diligently preach thy Word, and duly administer the godly Discipline thereof; and grant to the people, that they may obediently follow the same; that all may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Anglican liturgical renewal has restored St Paul with St Peter on this day.
The Roman Catholic new missal has a new prayer:

Deus, qui huius diei venerandam
sanctamque laetitiam in apostolorum
Petri et Pauli sollemnitate tribuisti,
da Ecclesiae tuae
eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum,
per quos religionis sumpsit exordium.

which ICEL translates as:

God our Father,
Today you give us the joy
of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Through them your Church first received the faith.
Keep us true to their teaching.

In 259 Valerian was persecuting the church. The Christians in Rome established the celebration of Peter and Paul on June 29. The Leonine sacramentary had twenty eight propers 280-379. The Gregorian and Sarum also had a feast of Paul on June 30. 1549 placed Paul on his conversion January 25. The tradition is that Peter and Paul were martyred in 64 CE under the persecution by Nero. Paul, beheaded – as he was a Roman citizen. Peter crucified upside down – he did not feel worthy to die in the same manner as his master.

Constantine’s fourth century basilica on the site of the shrine of St Peter’s burial was demolished in the sixteenth century and the present St Peter’s in the Vatican replaced it. Constantine’s basilica of St Paul’s outside the Walls was destroyed by fire in 1823 and reconstructed.

A consistent thread that comes through these various forms of the collect is of passing on and building on the foundation of the faith taught, lived, and died for by the apostles.
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