Daily Martyrology for June 29

The solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles. Peter was martyred in Rome during the reign of Nero. He was a Galilean fisherman, whom Jesus chose to be leader of the apostles. After denying Christ, Peter visited the empty tomb and became a leader and spokesman for the Christian community. He went to Rome, and the apocryphal Acts of Peter recount that when he was leaving the city during a persecution, he met Jesus and asked him, “Where are you going, Lord?” Jesus replied, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” So Peter went back, and according to an ancient tradition, was crucified there upside down. What are very probably his remains were discovered under St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the 1960s. A medal from the first half of the second century shows him as a sturdy man with a curly beard. His emblems are keys and an upside-down cross.

St. Paul was a Jew from Tarsus, 200 miles north of Jerusalem; he was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee well educated in the Jewish scriptures. After persecuting Christians, he was converted by a meeting with the Lord on the road to Damascus. He took the Christian gospel throughout the eastern Mediterranean and developed Christian doctrine in his preaching and letters. He defended the place of Gentiles in the church and centered his preaching on Christ crucified and risen. He was beheaded in Rome around 65 AD and buried where the basilica and monastery of St. Paul Outside the Walls now stand. His emblem is a book or a sword.

The commemoration of Benjamin, the patriarch.

In 1316, on a ship in the harbor of Palma, Majorca, Blessed Raymund Lull. He was born on Majorca, which had a mixed population of Christians and Muslims. He was wealthy, well-educated, happily married, and well-connected. He led a very worldly life until he was about 30. Then he had a vision of Christ, which convinced him he must devote the rest of his life to church reform, and bringing the Moors to Christ. He never gained much official support. He learned Arabic and wrote prolifically on theological and philosophical topics. Eventually he did go to North Africa several times to preach, but the Muslim authorities treated him roughly and deported him. He died on the ship that brought him back from North Africa after he had been stoned and left for dead there.

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Our daily martyrology was written by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB. Copyright © 2008 by the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID 83338.