There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in a.d. 57-58.

There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in 54 A.D. Paul’s letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.

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  1. St. Peter and Paul and the Saints, please pray and intercede for us that my 2nd son will get the job he is been waiting for and for him to endure and pass the trainings, bless and protect our family, Amen.

  2. St . Peter, St.Paul, all the martyr Saints, please intercede for me that my personal intention finds favor before God, Mary Mother of God, pray for us. I pray trusting and believing in our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, Amen.

  3. Saint Stephen was the first Martyr when He was describing the Jewish tribes and Heaven and they didn’t like what he was saying so they began stoning him and handing their coats over to Saul who would later become Saint Paul Oh how quickly they forget

    • Saint Stephen was not a martyr of Rome. This post celebrates the feastday of the first Christian martyrs of Rome. Not of Jerusalem or elsewhere. We know Saint Paul was present or condoned Stephen’s death, so his radical conversion came later. This feastday includes all the first martyrs in Rome and, as it mentions, Paul was likely one of them. It makes sense to have this feast follow the one he shares with Peter, which was yesterday.


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