4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

Peter and PaulThe Orthodox Church remembers the apostles Peter and Paul each year on June 29, commemorating not only their divinely inspired writings in the New Testament but also their efforts as apostles of Christ.

Here are a few interesting facts about their lives and ministry:

  1. Peter and Paul both ended their ministry as apostles in Rome. The Gospel had reached Rome before their arrival, but they both saw it necessary to journey to Rome and bring apostolic leadership to the church there. Since Peter is not mentioned by name in Romans 16, he arrived in Rome at some point afterwards, perhaps in the late ’50s or early ’60s.
  2. Paul was called to be an apostle on the street called Straight. Acts chapter 9 tells the story of Paul’s mystical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Pharisee, he was committed to the persecution of those following “the Way” (Acts 9:2), but was now being confronted by the Lord for his actions. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Christ himself, for the Church is his Body. Interestingly enough, this street called Straight exists to this day in Damascus, and is the headquarters of the Church of Antioch.
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The Ascension of Christ and Spirit of Pentecost

Christ's AscensionIn the Orthodox Church, the 40th day after Easter is celebrated as the day marking Christ’s ascension into heaven. The emphasis of this commemoration is our assurance not only that Jesus is truly the Son of God, but that he has not left his disciples without hope.

In the Gospel reading for this Great Feast, the Scriptures record:

“Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you. . . . Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.’

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” —Luke 24:36–53 (NKJV)

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Christ Is Risen! The Eastern Orthodox Celebration of Pascha

Easter (or “Pascha,” the Greek word for “Passover”) has yet to come for the Orthodox Church. While many Christians celebrated on March 31, a full five weeks separate the celebrations this year—Pascha takes place this Sunday, May 5. Let’s take a brief look at not only the history behind these differences, but also the manner in which Eastern Christians celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.

The dating of Easter has always been a complicated issue, going all the way back to the second century. At that time, the main divide was between those who celebrated on precisely the 14th day of Nisan (the Jewish Passover) and those who celebrated on the Sunday following the 14th of Nisan. This variance came to a head at the first Council of Nicaea (AD 325), when that assembly of bishops decided to regulate the celebration to always occur on a Sunday, or what had come to be called “the Day of the Lord” (Rev. 1:10).

A 19-year cycle of celestial calculations was developed, and this cycle, connected with the Julian calendar, has remained in use in the East. An 84-year cycle came to be used in the Western half of the empire, and so the first discrepancy (since the first Council of Nicaea) began to occur. With the assistance of the best astronomers and scientists of the time, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar in 1582 in order to improve its accuracy. A reform of the Western lunar calendar—connected with the dating of Easter—also occurred. [Read more...]

New Eastern Orthodox Resources at Logos

Those who are familiar with Logos know that we are committed to building the best digital library of Christian resources in the world. As part of that commitment, I am excited to introduce myself as the new product manager for Eastern Orthodox content here at Logos. My goal is to ensure that Logos has not only the widest selection but also the highest quality of Eastern Orthodox products in the digital marketplace.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has over 300 million adherents, with the majority of its faithful living in Northern Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Since the 1800s, there has been a significant increase in the number of Orthodox Christians living throughout the Western hemisphere, thanks in large part to both the missionary efforts of Russian Christians to Alaska, Canada, and the United States, and the immigration of Orthodox Christians into both North and South America from predominantly Orthodox nations.
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