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St. Peter's Day

Late June is known as ‘Petertide’ because the feast of St Peter the Apostle falls on 29 June (kept by us on Sunday the 30th of June). It is traditionally one of the seasons in the Church of England for ordination to the priestly ministry. Peter is one of the best known of the apostles, as he was among the first to be called. Jesus promised him that he would be the rock on which he would build his Church. In Roman Catholic tradition he is viewed as the ‘Prince of the Apostles’ but the Eastern Churches and the Church of England, while venerating him appropriately as the leader of the apostolic band, tend to view him more moderately. He was often a shaky rock, denying the Lord three times and even after the resurrection not always understanding the universal scope of God’s love.

It is anachronistic also to consider him the first bishop of Rome: bishops emerged only gradually in the years after the death of the apostles. Yet he was certainly the main figure among them and charged by Christ to gather and feed his flock – and his warm humanity and love of Christ makes him of the most endearing of saints. The Church of England holds that every bishop has a ‘Petrine function’ of Peter’s kind (gathering and feeding the flock) within her or his own diocese.


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