On the Equality of Apostles Peter and Paul

St. Gregory Palamas ca. 1296-1359

[W]e commemorate each of the saints with hymns and appropriate songs of praise, how much more should we celebrate the memory of Peter and Paul, the supreme leaders of the pre-eminent company of the Apsotles?

[B]oth these luminaries together brighten the Church, for their meeting produces a wealth of light, not an eclipse. It is not the case that one has a higher orbit and is placed above, while the other is lower down and passes under his shadow. Nor does one rule the day, the other the night, such that one would overshadow the other if they appeared opposite each other. Light is not produced by one and received by the other in such a way that the latter’s radiance would vary sometimes depending on the distance between them. Rather, both share equally in Christ, the everlasting source of eternal light, and have attained to the same height, glory and radiance. That is why the coming together of these lights signifies their solidarity and support for one another and illuminates the souls of the faithful twice over.

Once Peter made… heartfelt confession, the Lord ordained him shepherd and chief pastor of his whole Church, and also promised to encompass him with such strength… given that Paul made the same confession of faith as Peter, had the same zeal, humility, and love, surely they received the same rewards from Him who measures everything with completely just scales, yardstick and plumbline. Anything else would be unreasonable. That is why the Lord told Peter, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church” (Mat. 16:18), whereas He said to Ananias of Paul, “He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before Gentiles and kings” (Acts 9:15). Which name? Clearly the name we have been given, the name of Christ’s Church, which rests on the foundation stone of Peter. Notice that Peter and Paul are equal in prominence and glory, and both hold up the Church. Consequently, the Church now bestows one and the same honor on both, and celebrates them together with equal esteem. (Homily 28)

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