Saint Peter was born in Bethsaida
(John 1:42, 44), a town on Lake
Genesareth. Jesus says to St.
Peter. (Matt 16:19) I will give you
the keys of the kingdom of
heaven; whatever you bind on
earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will
be loosed in heaven."
His name, Peter, means 'rock'. Jesus placed one hand upon
Apostle Peter's shoulders and declared, "Upon this Rock I
will build my church." It was a responsibility St. Peter
would struggle to understand but he would accomplish well. St.
Peter was said to have been a large man, tall and powerful; yet
when it came to his faith he was perhaps one of the most humble.
Some legends declare him to have been a large read headed man
with a trigger temper. It is even suggested that Jesus spoke in
jest when he gave Peter, who was called Simon before he was called
'Peter the Apostle', the nickname 'Cephas' which means 'rock'.
But Peter's determination and will must also have been the reason
Jesus chose this humble man to be the leader of his Church.
Little is known of the private life of Saint Peter before he
became one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He was married
as legend refers to Jesus curing his mother-in-law from illness.
However there is little information pertaining to what extent
his family (other than his brother Andrew who was also a disciple)
played in his role as disciple and then leader of the Church.
The fishermen from Bethsaida, brothers Peter and Andrew, are
repeatedly written of in the Gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew.
It is said that when Jesus saw Peter and Andrew casting their
fishing nets he told them, "Come with me and I will make
you fishers of men". Both men immediately followed.
St. Peter, also called 'Simon Peter', was the first disciple
who recognized Jesus as the "Messiah, son of the living God".
Jesus also told Peter, "I will give you the keys of heaven.
Whatever you bind of earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever
you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." (Matthew
St. Simon Peter is said to have been present at the Transfiguration
of Jesus, the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead and
the Agony at the Garden of Gethsemane along with James and John.
He was the Apostle who walked on water to meet the Lord and began
to sink when his faith faltered. His role was perhaps one of the
most remembered of the Passion when, true to Jesus' prediction
the Peter would deny knowing him, the denial of Peter occurred
three times before the cock crowed at dawn. Peter was one of the
first to enter the empty tomb the morning of the third day after
the Resurrection and he was the first disciple to see the Risen
Christ at the Sea of Galilee. It was Peter to whom Jesus instructed
to lead the new Church, "Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed
my sheep." (Matthew 16:13-19, John 21:15-17).
Peter served as the head of the Apostles immediately after the
Ascension. He was present at the descent of the Holy Spirit
at Pentecost and he was the first Apostle to perform miracles
in the name of Jesus. At the Council of Jerusalem he pledged support
in preaching to the Gentiles and was instrumental in bringing
the Good News throughout Jerusalem, Antioch, Cornith and Rome.
Peter the Apostle is repeatedly mentioned in all four Gospels
of the New Testament. The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox
and Anglican Communion all consider him to be saint. Catholic
and Orthodox Tradition declare him to be the first bishop of Rome.
Catholics refer to him as the first Pope and therefore superior
to all Bishops. Saint Peter is always listed as first of the Twelve
and is frequently equated in the company of James the Elder and
John, suggesting the three of them formed a special group within
the twelve followers or Disciples of Christ.
In the Gospel of John, Chap 13:2-11 recounts Jesus washing
the feet of the Disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus chose Peter
first and when he refused. Jesus responded, "If I wash thee
not, thou hast no part with me". Peter replied: "Lord,
not my feet only, but also my hands and my head". The washing
of feet is repeated during Mass on Holy Catholic in the Roman
Catholic Church as a way of showing reverence to St. Peter's humble
In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter's life and teaching
are portrayed as an extremely important figure within the Christian
St. Peter Apostle is said to have founded the Church in Rome along
with the Apostle Paul. He authored two Epistles while serving
as Rome's Bishop, the first Pope. He and Paul were both martyred
in Rome on the same day. Their martyrdom is commerated jointly
on June 29th.
Peter the Apostle Also known as
Prince of the Apostles
Simon bar Jonah
Simon ben Jonah
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