Feast of Holy Apostles

Today, June 29/July 12, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. This has been observed since the first century. It is linked to Pentecost, honoring all the Apostles who were the first witnesses to receive the Holy Spirit.
St. Peter and St. Paul were chosen for this feast to represent the Apostles on purpose. Jesus called St. Peter the rock of the Church (Matthew 16:18) and St. Paul in the Holy Spirit had to qualify himself above all the Apostles because of his greater suffering (2 Corinthians 11:23).
Two Apostles were chosen for this feast because the early Church never liked the idea of a single man in charge. Thus, all the Apostles are represented as equal. This is due to the Holy Trinity, where God is relational because He is three persons in one essence.
The same principle applies to the Church. Clerical authority is relational, even if one is given an honorary status. Worship is relational, since the clergy’s prayers require the laity’s responses to be complete. This is why the Orthodox Church is most relational with the early Church.
For the early Christians, prayer was a relational word and a public voice. Just as love is a relational term, so is prayer a communal orientation. Even marriage had strong social effects.
In ancient times, praying by oneself was accepted, but only in obedience to public prayer. Private prayer had to conform to public worship and its theology, which was also relational. Any private revelation was tested by a spiritual heritage. No prayer was in isolation.

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR and serve as Rector at St. Joseph of Optina Parish in Virginia Beach, VA
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