Orthodox icon | The Apostles Peter and Paul.
Peter, originally called “Simon,” was born in the humble town of Bethsaida by the Sea of Galilee. His father, Jonah, belonged to the tribe of Naftali. Peter and his brother Andrew, who was a disciple of St. John the Forerunner, worked as fishermen in Kaphernaum.
When Jesus met Simon, He renamed him Cephas, meaning “rock” in Greek (John 1:42-43). This name change marked a significant turning point in Peter’s life. From that moment on, he devoted himself to following Jesus, accompanying Him in Galilee, where Jesus preached about the kingdom of God and performed miraculous healings.
Although Peter continued his fishing profession, he invited Jesus to his house after Jesus taught in the Caphernaum synagogue. There, Jesus healed Peter’s fever-stricken mother-in-law. Later, Peter voluntarily underwent crucifixion in Nero’s circus, at the same place where Jesus Christ had been crucified.
People venerate Peter as the patron saint of repentance, confession, and numerous professions, including bridge builders, butchers, glaziers, joiners, locksmiths, blacksmiths, ironmongers, lead foundries, watchmakers, paper dealers, potters, bricklayers, fishermen, fishmongers, boatmen, castaways, and virgins. They also seek his intercession for protection against obsession, epilepsy, rabies, fever, snakebite, foot problems, theft, and adverse weather conditions.
Paul, born around 10 AD in Tarsos, Cilicia, belonged to a Jewish Diaspora community dedicated to their ancestral traditions. He was named “Saul” and came from the tribe of Benjamin.
Due to his father’s Roman citizenship, he held a privileged position in society. His parents sent him to Jerusalem to study the law, where he joined the Pharisees and followed the teachings of Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder.
Sharing his father’s hostility towards Christians, Saul set out for Damascus to apprehend and bring the Christians in chains to Jerusalem. However, a radiant light enveloped him as he neared the city, causing him to fall to the ground. A voice addressed him, asking why he persecuted Jesus.
Instructed by the Lord to proceed to Damascus, Saul found his vision impaired by the intense light. With assistance, he entered the city. For three days, he refrained from eating and drinking until Ananias, guided by an angel, arrived. Ananias laid hands on Saul in Jesus’ name, causing scales to fall from his eyes and restoring his sight. Saul was then baptized.
Undergoing a profound transformation and filled with the Holy Spirit, he began proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God in synagogues, astonishing the Jews who knew of his previous hostility towards Christians.
He is venerated as the patron saint of theologians, pastors, weavers, carpet weavers, tent weavers, basket makers, rope makers, saddlers, and workers. People invoke his intercession for the Catholic press, rain, fertility in fields, and protection against fear, anxiety, ear problems, cramps, snakebite, lightning, and hail.
The artisans have adorned the halos and sides of this icon with gold leaf.