Orthodox icon | The Apostles Peter and Paul | 24895


  • Russian icon
  • 19th century
  • 22.5 x 19 cm | 8.9 x 7.5 in


Saint Peter the Apostle, originally known as “Simon,” hailed from the modest town of Bethsaida on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He was the son of Jonah from the tribe of Naftali. Married and residing in Capernaum, Peter and his brother Andrew, a disciple of St. John the Forerunner, led simple lives as fishermen. Jesus renamed Simon as Cephas (Jn 1,42-43), which translates to “rock” (Greek petra, stemming from Petros). This renaming heralded a transformative shift in his life. From then on, he accompanied Jesus throughout Galilee, witnessing the proclamation of the arrival of God’s kingdom and the healing of all diseases. Yet, he didn’t entirely abandon his vocation as a fisherman. After Jesus taught in Capernaum’s synagogue, Peter invited Him to his home, where His mother-in-law lay sick with fever; Jesus cured her. Upon his own request, Peter was crucified in Nero’s circus, at the location where St. Peter’s Basilica now stands. He chose to be crucified upside down, not feeling worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus Christ. He is regarded as the patron saint of those who repent and confess, along with a host of professions such as bridge builders, butchers, glaziers, carpenters, locksmiths, blacksmiths, ironmongers, lead founders, watchmakers, paper merchants, potters, bricklayers, fishermen, fishmongers, boatmen, and castaways; he is also the guardian of virgins. He is invoked for protection against obsession, epilepsy, rabies, fever, snakebites, foot ailments, theft, and adverse weather.

Saint Paul the Apostle was born around 10 AD in Tarsos, Cilicia, in a fervently traditional Jewish Diaspora community. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin and was named “Saul.” Thanks to his father, he held Roman citizenship, which accorded him a privileged position. Raised amidst the cosmopolitan culture of Tarsus with influences from Hellenistic civilization, he was sent to Jerusalem by his parents to study the law. There he aligned with the Pharisees and followed the teachings of the esteemed Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder. Paul harbored an intense resentment towards Christians, whom he considered a dangerous threat to the law. On his journey to Damascus, intending to arrest Christians and transport them to Jerusalem in chains, he was suddenly enveloped by a bright celestial light that forced him to the ground. He heard a voice proclaiming, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” His inquiry of the voice’s identity was met with, “I am Jesus, whom you are perseciving.” Following this incident, a man named Ananias restored his sight in the name of Jesus, and Paul was baptized. From then on, Paul was a changed man, filled with the Holy Spirit, and he began preaching Jesus as the Son of God in synagogues. He is revered as the patron saint of theologians, pastors, weavers, carpet weavers, tent weavers, basket makers, rope makers, saddlers, laborers, the Catholic press, and those praying for rain and fertile fields. He offers protection against fear, anxiety, ear issues, cramps, snakebites, lightning, and hail.

June 29 is the commemoration day for the revered apostles Peter and Paul, who are celebrated as luminaries. In the depiction, Peter holds a scroll with the text, “You are Peter…”. Above them, Christ bestows His blessings.

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Orthodox icon | The Apostles Peter and Paul | 24895
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