St Peter (died 64 A.D.).
He was appointed by Jesus Christ as the first Pope (Matthew 16: 13-20):
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’
And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’
He said to them, ’But who do you say that I am?’
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah] the Son of the living God.’
And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”
St. Paul (died c. 62-64 A.D.)
Saul in Hebrew or Paul in Latin (since he was also a Roman Citizen) was born in Tarsus (now in Turkey). He was a leading pharisee who persecuted the early Christians until his conversion. We read an account of this in Acts 9:3-9:
“Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank’.
After his dramatic conversion, he became a tireless missionary who through his writings, gave shape to the Church’s doctrine in an unparalleled way. Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 13 are attributed to Paul (7 were actually dictated by him), and approximately half of another, Acts of the Apostles, deals with Paul’s life and works. Thus, about half of the New Testament stems from Paul and the people whom he influenced.