Saint Peter

Saint Peter
Saint Peter the Apostle

Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens depicting the saint as Pope (1611-1612).
Prince of the Apostles, First Pope, Martyr, Preacher
Born ca. 1 BC
Died possibly AD 67
Rome, by crucifixion
Honored in Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Islam (honoured)[1]
Major shrine St. Peter's Basilica
Feast main feast (with Paul of Tarsus) 29 June (Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism)
Chair of St Peter in Rome 18 January (Pre-1960 Roman Calendar)
Confession of St Peter 18 January (Anglicanism)
Chair of St Peter 22 February (Roman Catholic Church)
St Peter in Chains 1 August (pre-1960 Roman Calendar)
Attributes Keys of Heaven, pallium, Papal vestments, Rooster, man crucified head downwards, vested as an Apostle, holding a book or scroll. Iconographically, he is depicted with a bushy white beard and white hair
Patronage See St. Peter's Patronage
Influences Jesus
Major work(s) 1 Peter
2 Peter
Saint Peter medieval mosaic from Chora Church

Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle. Simon Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope by the Roman Catholic Church. After working to establish the church of Antioch for seven years presiding as the city's bishop[2] and preaching to scattered communities of believers (Jews, Hebrew Christians and the gentiles), in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia, Peter went to Rome. In the second year of Claudius, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He is said to have been put to death at the hand of Nero. He wrote two Catholic epistles. The Gospel of Mark is also ascribed to him (as Mark was his disciple and interpreter). On the other hand, several books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Revelation of Peter, and Judgement of Peter—are rejected by Christians as Apocryphal.[3][4][5]

According to New Testament accounts, he was one of Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus from his first disciples. He was a fisherman assigned a leadership role by Jesus and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration.[6] Upon his death, he is said to have been martyred by Emperor Nero and crucified upside down on an inverted cross, as he saw himself unworthy to be crucified the same way like Jesus Christ.


Names and etymologies

Peter, a name derived from the Greek word for rock, is also known as Simon Peter, Cephas (Greek: Κηφᾶς) and Kepha (Hebrew: כיפא‎). Both Cephas and Kepha also mean rock. His original name was Shimon or Simeon. Simon Peter (Greek: Πέτρος Pétros, "stone, rock";[7] possibly died AD 67), sometimes Simon Cephas (Greek: Σιμων Κηφᾶς Simōn Kēphas; Aramaic: ‎ Šimʻōn Kêfâ; Syriac: ܫܶܡܥܽܘܢ ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ Sëmʻān Kêfâ) after his name in Hellenised Aramaic. Cepha (cephah) is a native Aramaic Syriac word (Syriac: ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ Kîpâ).[8] However, a "loose language" modern Aramaic (Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, &c.,) dictionary may define Cepha, e.g., such as in Hebrew: כֵּיפׇא \ כֵּיף‎‎, to mean Rock, yet, may not explain the actual origin of the word itself.[9] It is unlikely that one will find this particular word ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ in any "strict language" Aramaic dictionary other than that of the Aramaic Syriac dictionary. For instance the Hebrew word for Cepha (כֵּיפׇא) would not be present, while סֶלַֽע (ßĕ'lặᵉ) ; i.e., rock, cliff, Petra][10] would, for סֶלַֽע is a native Hebrew word.[10] Within a "strict language" dictionary the word will be in its native and original form, thus rock will be translated into the language that which is being used, e.g., "English-Hebrew dictionary"[11] where the word(s) for rock is translated as such : (הִתְנַדְנֵד−.פ, הִתְנוֹעֵעַ, הׇנֵעַ, נַדְנֵד, סֶלַע, צוּר, ש. (ריִֹק and not כֵּיפׇא \ כֵּיף.

The (Hebrew: כֵּיפׇא \ כֵּיף‎) is an indirect transliteration of the Syriac (ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ), however the (Greek: Κηφᾶς) is a direct transliteration of the Syriac (ܟ݁ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ) and the (Hebrew: כֵּיפׇא \ כֵּיף‎) a direct transliteration of the Greek. Though the Hebrew word (Hebrew: כאפא‎) is also used to which is a direct transliteration of the Syriac. (cƒ. Interlinear Peshitta Aramaic New Testament Bible Matthew xvi. 18)

Kephas, Hebrew for "rock," was translated into Greek as Petros (which means "stone"), and into Latin as Petrus, from which are derived the English and German "Peter", the French "Pierre", the Italian "Pietro", the Spanish and Portuguese "Pedro", and the Russian "Piotr."

New Testament account

Ruins of ancient Capernaum on north side of the Sea of Galilee. An Orthodox church is built on top of traditional site of Apostle Peter's house.

Peter's life story relies on the four Canonical Gospels, The Book of Acts, New Testament Letters, Non-Canonical Gospels such as the Gospel According to the Hebrews and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus' ministry. It was during his first meeting with Jesus that Jesus named him Peter. Peter was to become the first Apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church.[6]

Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida.[Jn. 1:44] He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John.[12] The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum[Matt. 8:14–17] [Mk. 1:29–31] [Lk. 4:38] which, coupled with 1Cor 9:5, clearly depict Peter as married or a widower.

In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter (then Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The Gospel of John also depicts Peter fishing, even after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish.

In Matthew and Mark, Jesus called Simon and his brother Andrew to be "fishers of men."[Matt. 4:18–19] [Mk. 1:16–17]