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Saint Peter’s Life

Saint Peter

Saint Peter

Saint Peter (c.1–AD 64) was a leader of the early Christian church, who features prominently in the New Testament Gospels. According to Biblical accounts, he was one of Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus from his first disciples. He was a Galilean fisherman assigned a leadership role by Jesus. Roman Catholic tradition states that he was the first Pope (from 30 AD to 64 AD), the author of two canonical epistles, and a martyr under Nero, crucified head down, and buried in Rome. His memoirs are traditionally cited as the source of the Gospel of Mark. The Catholic Church consider Peter a saint. According to Catholic tradition Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, therefore the Pope is Peter’s successor and the rightful superior of all other bishops, and head of the Catholic Church on Earth, Christ being its Heavenly head. In art, he is often depicted holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven (interpreted by Roman Catholics as the sign of his primacy over the Church).

Background

Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida. He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John. 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. Peter is always mentioned first in the lists of the Twelve given in the canonical gospels. He often confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Peter is often depicted in the Gospels as spokesman of all the apostles. Catholics refer to him as chief of the Apostles. The author of the Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter as an extremely important figure within the early Christian community, with Peter delivering a significant open-air sermon during Pentecost.

Death

According to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Peter labored in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his earthly course by martyrdom. Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer.