July10/June 27. 2020
St. Sampson the Hospitable
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ
I greet you with the feast of the Chiefs and Princes of the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul. One denied the Saviour thrice and the other was a great persecutor and yet by repentance they attained the Kingdom of H
eaven and are renowned throughout the world.
St. Peter was the leader of the Apostle. He was the first to confess the Saviour to be the Messiah and was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and to loose. Now what was given to Peter was later given to all, as Augustine says, since he represents the whole company of the Apostles, throughout the Gospels. Having been so graced by God, he yet fell in to cowardice and denial. He who had seen such miracles was found wanting at the moment of trial. And what was he asked in reparation for so grave a sin? For his three denials he was asked for three affirmations of love. O what love and mercy from God towards sinful man.
St. Paul was a fierce persecutor of the Christians until he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus and was changed from a persecutor to a zealous preacher of salvation. He traversed the known world preaching and strengthening the faithful and suffering greatly for love of Him Whom he had persecuted. Complicit in the death of St. Stephen, he now rejoices with him in the glory of Heaven.
By repentance and struggle these two weak and sinful men became vessels of election and the joy to all Christians everywhere. May their prayers cover us and make us zealous for the Orthodox Faith and piety; that on the great and final day we may be found in their company, praising God unto the ages.