Peter, the son of Jonah and brother of Andrew the First-Called, of the tribe of Simeon and the town of Bethsaida, was a fisherman and was at first called Simon, but Jesus was pleased to call him, Peter (Jn1:42)
He was the first of the disciples to give clear expression of his faith in the Lord Jesus, saying:
‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mt 16:16).
His love for Jesus was very strong, and his faith in Him went from strength to strength. When Jesus was put on trial, Peter denied him three times, but it needed only one look into the face of Jesus, and Peter’s soul was filled with shame and repentance. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Peter became a fearless and powerful preacher of the Gospel. After his first sermon in Jerusalem, about 3,000 souls were converted to the Faith. He preached the Gospel throughout Palestine and Asia Minor, in Italy and Illyria. He performed many wonders, healing the sick and raising the dead, and even his shadow had the power of healing the sick. Peter was condemned to death on the order of Emperor Nero. After installing Linus as Bishop of Rome and exhorting and encouraging the flock of Christ there, Peter went to his death with joy. When he saw the cross before him, he asked the executioner to crucify him upside-down, because he felt himself unworthy to die in the same way as his Lord.
Paul, born in Tarsus and of the tribe of Benjamin, was formerly called Saul and studied Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians. He was wonderously converted to the Christian faith by the Lord Himself, who appeared to him on the way to Damascus. He was baptised by the Apostle Ananias, named Paul and enrolled in the work of the Great Apostles. He preached the Gospel everywhere with burning zeal, from the borders of Arabia to the land of Spain, among both the Jews and the heathen, and received the title of “The Apostle to the Gentiles”.
His fearless sufferings were matched only by the superhuman endurance. Through all the years of his preaching, he hung from day to day like a thread between life and death. Filling his days and nights with toil and suffering for Christ, organizing the Church in many places and receiving a high level of perfection, he was able to say: ‘I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20)
He was beheaded in Rome in the reign of Nero, at the same time as St. Peter.