Saint Peter

Saint Peter

Overview
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida
Bethsaida
Bethsaida is a place mentioned in the New Testament.- Bethsaida Julias :...

 in the province of Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

, his brother Andrew was also an apostle
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

. Simon Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. After working to establish the church of Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 for seven years presiding as the city's bishop and preaching to scattered communities of believers (Jews, Hebrew Christians and the
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 gentile
Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

s), in Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, Galatia
Galatia
Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace , who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of...

, Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

, Peter went to Rome.
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Encyclopedia
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida
Bethsaida
Bethsaida is a place mentioned in the New Testament.- Bethsaida Julias :...

 in the province of Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

, his brother Andrew was also an apostle
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

. Simon Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. After working to establish the church of Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 for seven years presiding as the city's bishop and preaching to scattered communities of believers (Jews, Hebrew Christians and the
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 gentile
Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

s), in Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, Galatia
Galatia
Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace , who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of...

, Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

, Peter went to Rome. In the second year of Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus
Simon Magus
Simon the Sorcerer or Simon the Magician, in Latin Simon Magus, was a Samaritan magus or religious figure and a convert to Christianity, baptised by Philip the Apostle, whose later confrontation with Peter is recorded in . The sin of simony, or paying for position and influence in the church, is...

 and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He is said to have been put to death at the hand of Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

. He wrote two Catholic epistles. The Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 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.

According to New Testament accounts, he was one of Twelve Apostles
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

, chosen by Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 from his first disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

. He was a fisherman
Fisherman
A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men...

 assigned a leadership role by Jesus and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration
Transfiguration of Jesus
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant upon a mountain. The Synoptic Gospels describe it, and 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to it....

.

Upon his death, he is said to have been martyred by Emperor Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 and crucified upside down on an inverted cross, as he saw himself unworthy to be crucified the same way like Jesus Christ. Today, Catholic tradition holds that Saint Peter's mortal bones and remains are contained in the underground Confessio of the St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

, where Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 announced the excavation discovery of a First-century A.D. Roman cemetery
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

 in 1968.

Names and etymologies


Peter, a name derived from the Greek word for rock, is also known as Simon Peter, Cephas and Kepha . Both Cephas and Kepha also mean rock. His original name was Shimon
Shimon
Shimon is the original Hebrew pronunciation of the names Simon and Simeon. Among individuals, Shimon can refer to:-Given names:* Shimon Peres, former Israeli Labor Party Prime Minister and current Kadima President of Israel...

or Simeon
Simeon
Simeon, or Shimon is a given name, from the Hebrew ). In Greek, it is written Συμεών, hence the Latinized spelling Symeon.-Meaning:...

.
Simon Peter ( Pétros, "stone, rock"; possibly died AD 67), sometimes Simon Cephas ( Simōn Kēphas; Šimʻōn Kêfâ; Sëmʻān Kêfâ) after his name in Hellenised Aramaic.
Cepha (cephah) is a native Aramaic Syriac word ( Kîpâ). However, a "loose language" modern Aramaic (Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, &c.,) dictionary may define Cepha, e.g., such as in , to mean Rock, yet, may not explain the actual origin of the word itself. It is unlikely that one will find this particular word in any "strict language" Aramaic dictionary other than that of the Aramaic Syriac dictionary. For instance the Hebrew word for Cepha would not be present, while (ßĕ'lặᵉ) ; i.e., rock, cliff, Petra] would, for is a native Hebrew word. 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" where the word(s) for rock is translated as such : ( and not .

The is an indirect transliteration of the Syriac , however the is a direct transliteration of the Syriac and the a direct transliteration of the Greek. Though the Hebrew word 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


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
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old 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.

Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida
Bethsaida
Bethsaida is a place mentioned in the New Testament.- Bethsaida Julias :...

. He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John. The synoptic gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus
Healing the mother of Peter's wife
Healing the mother of Peter's wife is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels, namely in Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-41 and Matthew 8:14-15.In the Gospels of Mark and Luke this episode takes place after the exorcism at the Synagogue in Capernaum. Jesus goes to Apostle Peter's house. There he sees...

 at their home in Capernaum
Capernaum
Capernaum was a fishing village in the time of the Hasmoneans. Located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other...

which, coupled with , clearly depict Peter as married or a widower.

In the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

, Peter (then Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

 and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 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
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

 to be "fishers of men."

In Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

, Simon Peter owns the boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes who were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

. Jesus then amazes Simon and his companions James and John (Andrew is not mentioned) by telling them to lower their nets, whereupon they catch a huge number of fish. Immediately after this, they follow him.

The Gospel of John gives a comparable account of "The First Disciples." In John, we are told that it was two disciples of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 (Andrew and an unnamed disciple) who heard John the Baptist announce Jesus as the "Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

" and then followed Jesus. Andrew then went and fetched his brother Simon, saying, "We have found the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

," and then brought Simon to Jesus.

The "Rock" dialogue


In a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples , Jesus asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man
Son of man
The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

 is?” The disciples give various answers. When he asks, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answers, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." In turn, Jesus declares Peter to be "blessed" for having recognized Jesus' true identity and attributes this recognition to a divine revelation. Then Jesus addresses Simon by what seems to have been the nickname "Peter" (Cephas in Aramaic, Petros [rock] in Greek) and says, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."

A common exegetical interpretation of Peter is provided by Daniel Harrington who suggests that Peter was an unlikely symbol of stability. While he was one of the first disciples called and served as the spokesman for the group, Peter is also the exemplar of "little faith" in , will soon have Jesus say to him, "Get behind me, Satan," and will eventually deny Jesus three times. In light of the Easter event, then, Peter became an exemplar of the forgiven sinner. A great variance of opinions exists as to the interpretation of this passage with respect to what authority and responsibility, if any, Jesus was giving to Peter.

Petros had not previously been used as a name, but in the Greek-speaking world it became a popular Christian name, after the tradition of Peter's prominence in the early Christian church had been established.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 this passage is interpreted as not implying a special prominence to the person of Peter, but to Peter's position as representative of the Apostles. The word used for "rock" (petra) grammatically refers to "a small detachment of the massive ledge", not to a massive boulder. Thus, Orthodox Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

 understands Jesus' words as referring to the Apostolic Faith.

The great majority of Western scholars concur with the interpretation that the "rock" was Peter, not Jesus himself or Peter's faith.

Position among the apostles


Peter is always mentioned first in the lists of the Twelve Apostles given in the canonical gospels and in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:13). He is also frequently mentioned in the Gospels as forming with James the Elder and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 a special group within the Twelve Apostles, present at incidents at which the others were not present, such as at the Transfiguration of Jesus
Transfiguration of Jesus
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant upon a mountain. The Synoptic Gospels describe it, and 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to it....

. 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, as do the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and the Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

. In Coptic Orthodox Church Liturgy, he is once referred to as “Prominent” or "head" among the Apostles, a title shared with St. Paul in the text (The Fraction of Fast and Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria). Some, including the Orthodox Churches, believe this is not the same as saying that the other Apostles were under Peter's orders. In contrast, Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians is a term which appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with Gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries....

 are said to have argued that James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 was the leader of the group. Some argue James was the Patriarch of Jerusalem and that this position at times gave him privilege in some (but not all) situations. The early Church historian Eusebius
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

 (c. AD 325) records Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

 (c. AD 190) as saying,

"For they say that Peter and James and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Jerusalem."


Paul affirms that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews, just as he, Paul, was apostle to the Gentiles.

Walking on water


Three of the four canonical Gospels—Matthew, Mark and John—recount the story of Jesus walking on water. Matthew additionally describes Peter walking on water for a moment, but began to sink when his faith wavered.

Washing of feet


At the beginning of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Peter initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet, but when 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 often repeated in the service of worship
Service of worship
In the Protestant denominations of Christianity, a service of worship is a meeting whose primary purpose is the worship of God. The phrase is normally shortened to service. It is also commonly called a worship service...

 on Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

 by some Christian denominations.

Arrest of Jesus



The three synoptic
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 Gospels all mention that, when Jesus was arrested, one of his companions cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. The Gospel of John also includes this event and names Peter as the swordsman and Malchus
Malchus
In the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible, Malchus is the servant of the Jewish High Priest, Caiaphas, who participated in the arrest of Jesus...

 as the victim. Luke adds that Jesus touched the ear and miraculously healed it.

Denial of Jesus by Peter



All four canonical gospels recount that, during the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, Jesus foretold that Peter would deny him three times before the following cockcrow ("before the cock crows twice" in Mark's account).

The three Synoptics and John describe the three denials as follows:
  1. A denial when a female servant of the high priest spots Simon Peter, saying that he had been with Jesus. According to Mark (but not in all manuscripts), "the rooster crowed." Only Luke and John mention a fire by which Peter was warming himself among other people: according to Luke, Peter was "sitting"; according to John, he was "standing."
  2. A denial when Simon Peter had gone out to the gateway, away from the firelight, but the same servant girl (Mark) or another servant girl (Matthew) or a man (Luke and also John, for whom, though, this is the third denial) told the bystanders he was a follower of Jesus. According to John, "the rooster crowed."
  3. A denial came when Peter's Galilean accent was taken as proof that he was indeed a disciple of Jesus. According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, "the rooster crowed." John, though, does not mention the Galilean accent.


Matthew adds that it was his accent that gave him away as coming from Galilee. Luke deviates slightly from this by stating that, rather than a crowd accusing Simon Peter, it was a third individual.


The Gospel of John places the second denial while Peter was still warming himself at the fire, and gives as the occasion of the third denial a claim by someone to have seen him in the garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where, according to Biblical texts, Jesus and his disciples are said to have prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion.- Etymology :...

 when Jesus was arrested
Arrest of Jesus
The arrest of Jesus is a pivotal event recorded in the Canonical gospels. The event ultimately leads, in the Gospel accounts, to Jesus' crucifixion...

.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus' prediction of Peter's denial is coupled with a prediction that all the apostles ("you," plural) would be "sifted like wheat," but that it would be Peter's task ("you," singular), when he had turned again, to strengthen his brethren.

In a reminiscent scene in John's epilogue, Peter affirms three times that he loves Jesus.

Empty tomb


In John's gospel, Peter is the first person to enter the empty tomb
Empty tomb
Empty tomb most often refers to the tomb of Jesus which was found to be empty by the women who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. They had come to his tomb to anoint his body with spices...

, although the women and the beloved disciple see it before him. In Luke's account, the women's report of the empty tomb is dismissed by the apostles, and Peter is the only one who goes to check for himself. In fact, he runs to the tomb. After seeing the graveclothes he goes home, apparently without informing the other disciples.

Resurrection appearances



Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 contains a list of resurrection appearances of Jesus
Resurrection appearances of Jesus
The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his Ascension. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus along with...

, the first of which is an appearance to Peter. Here Paul apparently follows an early tradition that Peter was the first to see the risen Christ, which however did not seem to have survived to the time when the Gospels were written.

In the final chapter
John 21
The chapter John 21 in the Bible contains an account of the post-Resurrection appearance in Galilee, which the text describes as the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples...

 of the Gospel of John, Peter, in one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus, three times affirmed his love for Jesus, balancing his threefold denial, and Jesus reconfirmed Peter's position. Some scholars hypothesize that it was added later to bolster Peter's status.

Role in the early church


The author of the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 portrays Peter as an extremely important figure within the early Christian community, with Peter delivering a significant open-air sermon
Open-air preaching
Open-air preaching, street preaching or public preaching is the act of publicly proclaiming a religious message to crowds of people in open places...

 during Pentecost
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

. According to the same book, Peter took the lead in selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

. He was twice arraigned, with John, before the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 and directly defied them. He undertook a missionary journey to Lydda
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

, Joppa and Caesarea, becoming instrumental in the decision to evangelise the Gentile
Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

s.

About halfway through, the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 turns its attention away from Peter and to the activities of Paul, and the Bible is mostly silent on what occurred to Peter afterwards.

John Vidmar writes:


"Both Catholic and Protestant scholars agree that Peter had an authority that superseded that of the other apostles. Peter is their spokesman at several events, he conducts the election of Matthias, his opinion in the debate over converting Gentiles was crucial, etc.

Rescue from prison



tells how Peter was put into prison by King Herod
Agrippa I
Agrippa I also known as Herod Agrippa or simply Herod , King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. His original name was Marcus Julius Agrippa, so named in honour of Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and he is the king named Herod in the...

, but was rescued by an angel.

Council of Jerusalem



At the council of Jerusalem (c. 50), the early Church, Paul and the leaders of the Jerusalem church met and decided to embrace Gentile converts. Acts portrays Peter as successfully opposing the Christian Pharisees who insisted on circumcision and the rest of the Mosaic law.

Epistles


Peter/Cephas is mentioned briefly in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
Epistle to the Galatians
The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia...

, which mentions a trip by Paul to Jerusalem where he meets Peter (Galatians 1:18), and a trip by Cephas to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

where Paul rebuked him for treating Gentile converts as inferior to Jewish Christian (see the Incident at Antioch). Galatians is accepted as authentic by almost all scholars, so these are the earliest mentions of Peter to be written.

Church tradition ascribes the epistles First
First Epistle of Peter
The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch,...

 and Second Peter
Second Epistle of Peter
The Second Epistle of Peter, often referred to as Second Peter and written 2 Peter or in Roman numerals II Peter , is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times NT scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical.It is the first New Testament book...

 to Apostle Peter, as does the text of Second Peter itself. First Peter implies the author is in "Babylon," which has been held to be a coded reference to Rome (1 Peter 5:13). Although, Babylon
Babylon (Egypt)
Babylon , was a fortress city or castle in the Delta of Egypt...

 was an important fortress city
Babylon Fortress
Babylon Fortress was an ancient fortress city or castle in the Delta of Egypt, located at Babylon in the area today known as Coptic Cairo.It was situated in the Heliopolite Nome, upon the right bank of the Nile, at latitude 30°N, near the commencement of the Pharaonic Canal , from the Nile to the...

 in Egypt, just north of today's Cairo and this fact is combined with the "greetings from Marc" (1 Peter 5:13), who is regarded as founder of the Church of Alexandria
Church of Alexandria
The Church of Alexandria in Egypt is the particular church headed by the Patriarch of Alexandria. It is one of the original four Apostolic Sees of Christianity, with Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem ....

 (Egypt); thus other scholars put the First Peter epistle to be written in Egypt. Some scholars regard First Peter as not authored by him, and there is still considerable debate about the Petrine authorship of Second Peter. However the Greek in both books is similar, and the early Church was adamantly opposed to pseudographical authorship.

Accounts outside the New Testament


In Catholic tradition, Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as its bishop, authored two epistles, and then met martyrdom there along with Paul.

Antioch and Corinth


Later accounts expand on the brief Biblical mention of his visit to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

. The Liber Pontificalis
Liber Pontificalis
The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II or Pope Stephen V , but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV and then Pope Pius II...

(9th century) mentions Peter as having served as bishop of Antioch for seven years and having potentially left his family in the Greek city before his journey to Rome. Claims of direct blood lineage from Simon Peter among the old population of Antioch existed in the 1st century and continue to exist today, notably by certain Semaan
Semaan
Semaan is one of the oldest Christian surnames in existence and is mainly found in the Levant area of the Middle East...

 families of modern-day Syria and Lebanon. Historians have furnished other evidence of Peter's sojourn in Antioch. Subsequent tradition held that Peter had been the first Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period...

.

Peter might have visited Corinth, as a party of "Cephas" existed there.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

 (Eusebius Caesariensis, ca 260-ca 340), in his "Historia Ecclesiastica
Church History (Eusebius)
The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

", while naming some of the Seventy Disciples of Jesus, says: "... and the history by Clement
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

(of Alexandria, c.150 - c. 215), in the fifth (chapter) of Hypotyposeis; in which Cefas, the one mentioned by Paul (in the citation): «when Cefas came to Antioch, I confronted him face to face» (Galatians 2:11), it is said he was one of the Seventy Disciples, having the same name with Peter the Apostle".

Death


In the epilogue of the Gospel of John, Jesus hints at the death by which Peter would glorify God,saying "…when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go." This is interpreted by some as a reference to Peter's crucifixion.

According to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Peter labored in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his life by martyrdom. The death of St. Peter is attested to by Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 at the end of the 2nd century, and by Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 in
Eusebius, Church History III.1. Origen says: "Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer." This is why an upside down cross is generally accepted as a symbol of Peter, who would not have considered himself worthy enough to die the same way as his Savior.

Status


St. Clement
Pope Clement I
Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians as a fellow laborer in Christ.While in the mid-19th century it was customary to identify him as a freedman of Titus Flavius Clemens, who was consul with his cousin, the Emperor...

 of Rome identifies Peter and Paul as the outstanding heroes of the faith. Papias reported that the Gospel of Mark was based on Peter's memoirs, a tradition still accepted by some scholars today.

Martyrdom



The mention in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 of the death of Peter says that Jesus indicated its form by saying: "You will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Early church tradition (as indicated below) says Peter probably died by crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 (with arms outstretched) at the time of the Great Fire of Rome
Great Fire of Rome
The Great Fire of Rome was an urban fire that occurred beginning July 19, AD 64.-Background:According to Tacitus, the fire spread quickly and burned for six days. Only four of the fourteen districts of Rome escaped the fire; three districts were completely destroyed and the other seven suffered...

 of the year 64. Margherita Guarducci
Margherita Guarducci
Margherita Guarducci was an Italian archaeologist, classical scholar and epigrapher. She was a major figure in several crucial moments of the 20th century academic community. A student of Federico Halbherr, she edited his works after his death...

, who led the research leading to the rediscovery of Peter’s tomb in its last stages (1963–1968), concludes Peter died on 13 October AD 64 during the festivities on the occasion of the “dies imperii” of Emperor Nero. This took place three months after the disastrous fire that destroyed Rome for which the emperor wished to blame the Christians. This “dies imperii” (regnal day anniversary) was an important one, exactly ten years after Nero ascended to the throne, and it was ‘as usual’ accompanied by much bloodshed. Traditionally, Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter
Acts of Peter
The Acts of Peter is one of the earliest of the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. It is mainly notable for a description of a miracle contest between Saint Peter and Simon Magus, and as the first record...

, he was crucified head down. Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 was later built, directly beneath the Basilica's high altar.

Clement of Rome, in his Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 5), written c. 80–98, speaks of Peter's martyrdom in the following terms: "Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most just pillars of the Church were persecuted, and came even unto death… Peter, through unjust envy, endured not one or two but many labours, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him."

The apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l Acts of Peter
Acts of Peter
The Acts of Peter is one of the earliest of the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. It is mainly notable for a description of a miracle contest between Saint Peter and Simon Magus, and as the first record...

 is also thought to be the source for the tradition about the famous phrase "Quo vadis, Domine?
Quo vadis
Quo vadis? is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?" or "Whither goest thou?" The modern usage of the phrase refers to Christian tradition, related in the apocryphal Acts of Peter , in which Saint Peter meets Jesus as Peter is fleeing from likely crucifixion in Rome...

" (or "Pou Hupageis, Kurie?" which means, "Whither goest Thou, Master?"). According to the story, Peter, fleeing Rome to avoid execution, asked the question of a vision of Jesus, to which Jesus allegedly responded that he was "going to Rome to be crucified again." On hearing this, Peter decided to return to the city to accept martyrdom. This story is commemorated in an Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci was an Italian Baroque painter.-Early career:Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood first apprenticed within his family...

 painting. The Church of Quo Vadis, near the Catacombs
Catacombs
Catacombs, human-made subterranean passageways for religious practice. Any chamber used as a burial place can be described as a catacomb, although the word is most commonly associated with the Roman empire...

 of Saint Callistus, contains a stone in which Jesus' footprints from this event are supposedly preserved, though this was apparently an ex-voto
Ex-voto
An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion...

from a pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

, and indeed a copy of the original, housed in the Basilica of St Sebastian
San Sebastiano fuori le mura
San Sebastiano fuori le mura , or San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas , is a basilica in Rome, central Italy...

.

The ancient historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 describes how Roman soldiers would amuse themselves by crucifying criminals in different positions, and it is likely that this would have been known to the author of the
Acts of Peter. The position attributed to Peter's crucifixion is thus plausible, either as having happened historically or as being an invention by the author of the Acts of Peter. Death, after crucifixion head down, is unlikely to be caused by suffocation
Suffocation
Suffocation is the process of Asphyxia.Suffocation may also refer to:* Suffocation , an American death metal band* "Suffocation", a song on Morbid Angel's debut album, Altars of Madness...

, the usual cause of death in ordinary crucifixion.

A medieval tradition was that the Mamertine Prison
Mamertine Prison
The Mamertine Prison — or Tullianum — was a prison located in the Forum Romanum in Ancient Rome. It was located on the northeastern slope of the Capitoline Hill, facing the Curia and the imperial fora of Nerva, Vespasian, and Augustus...

 in Rome is the place where Peter was imprisoned before his execution.

In 1950, human bones were found buried underneath the altar of St. Peter's Basilica. The bones have been claimed by many to have been those of Peter. An attempt to contradict these claims was made in 1953 by the excavation of what some believe to be St Peter's tomb in Jerusalem. However along with supposed tomb of Peter bearing his previous name Simon, tombs bearing the names of Jesus, Mary, James, John, and the rest of the apostles were also found at the same excavation—though all these names were very common among Jews at the time.

In the 1960s, some previously discarded debris from the excavations beneath St Peter's Basilica were re-examined, and the bones of a male person were identified. A forensic examination found them to be a male of about 61 years of age from the 1st century. This caused Pope Paul VI in 1968 to announce them most likely to be the relics of Apostle Peter.

Further doubt on finding bones in Rome is cast by Pope Vitalian's letter to King Oswy of the Britons (CE 665), offering him the remains (then called relics) of the apostle Peter and Paul, along with those of the Holy Martyrs Laurentius, John, Gregory and Pancratius as a reward for the emergence of British faith.

Connection to Rome




The See of Rome is traditionally said to be founded by Peter and Paul, see also Primacy of Simon Peter
Primacy of Simon Peter
Most Christians hold that Simon Peter was the most prominent of the Apostles, called the Prince of the Apostles and favored by Jesus of Nazareth. As such, it is argued that Peter held the first place of honor and authority...

, who had invested it with apostolic authority
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

. The New Testament says nothing directly about Peter's connection to Rome, but an early Catholic tradition supports such a connection.

That Peter was bishop of Rome is corroborated by both positive and negative evidence. However, some historians have challenged this traditional view of Peter's role in the early Roman Church. Still, most Catholic and Protestant scholars, and many scholars in general, conclude that Peter was indeed martyred in Rome under Nero. In 2009 concluded in a critical study that "there is not a single piece of reliable literary evidence (and no archaeological evidence either) that Peter ever was in Rome."

1 Clement, a document that has been dated from the 90s to the 120s, is one of the earliest sources adduced in support of Peter's stay in Rome, but questions have been raised about the text's authenticity and whether it has any knowledge about Peter's life beyond what is contained in the New Testament Acts. The Letter to the Romans attributed to St. Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 implies that Peter and Paul had special authority over the Roman church, telling the Roman Christians: "I do not command you, as Peter and Paul did" (ch. 4). However, the authenticity of this document and its traditional dating to c. 105–10 have also been questioned, and it may date from the final decades of the 2nd century.

Later in the 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

, Irenaeus of Lyons believed that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus
Pope Linus
Pope Saint Linus was, according to several early sources, Bishop of the diocese of Rome after Saint Peter. This makes Linus the second Pope. According to other early sources Pope Clement I was the Pope after Peter...

 as succeeding bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

. In Against Heresies
On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis
On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, today also called On the Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called , commonly called Against Heresies , is a five-volume work written by St. Irenaeus in the 2nd century...

 (Book III, Chapter III, paragraphs 2–3), Irenaeus wrote:

Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 also writes: "But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John (the Baptist, by being beheaded)." Dionysius of Corinth also serves as a late 2nd-century witness to the tradition. He wrote: "You (Pope Soter) have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time". Later tradition, first found in Saint Jerome, attributes to Peter a 25-year episcopate (or apostolate) in Rome.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there was a Christian community at Rome before either Peter or Paul arrived there:
Paul's Epistle to the Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

  (c. 58) attests to a large Christian community already there, although he does not mention Peter.

Non-canonical sayings of Peter


Two sayings are attributed to Peter in the gnostic Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel According to Thomas, commonly shortened to the Gospel of Thomas, is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library...

. In the first, Peter compares Jesus to a "just messenger." In the second, Peter asks Jesus to "make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life," although the verse containing the latter is regarded by most scholars as a dubious, later addition.

In the Apocalypse of Peter
Apocalypse of Peter
The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

, Peter holds a dialogue with Jesus about the parable of the fig tree and the fate of sinners.

In the Gospel of Mary
Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Mary is an apocryphal book discovered in 1896 in a 5th-century papyrus codex. The codex Papyrus Berolinensis 8502 was purchased in Cairo by German scholar Karl Reinhardt....

, whose text is largely fragmented, Peter appears to be jealous of "Mary" (probably Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

). He says to the other disciples, "Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?" In reply to this, Levi says "Peter, you have always been hot tempered."

Other noncanonical texts that attribute sayings to Peter include the Secret Book of James and the Acts of Peter
Acts of Peter
The Acts of Peter is one of the earliest of the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. It is mainly notable for a description of a miracle contest between Saint Peter and Simon Magus, and as the first record...

.

Denial of Jesus


In the Fayyum Fragment
Fayyum Fragment
The Fayyum Fragment is a papyrus fragment containing text that could be from part of the New Testament, and consists of only about 100 Greek letters...

 of the end of the 3rd century, Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times before a cock
Rooster
A rooster, also known as a cockerel, cock or chanticleer, is a male chicken with the female being called a hen. Immature male chickens of less than a year's age are called cockerels...

 crows (on the following morning). The account is similar to that of the canonical gospels, especially the Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

, either an abbreviation of the account in the Synoptics or a source text on which they were based.

Post-Jesus


The fragmentary Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Peter
The Gospel According to Peter , commonly called the Gospel of Peter, is one of the non-Canonical gospels which were rejected by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church's synods of Carthage and Rome, which established the New Testament canon, as apocryphal...

, attributed to Peter, contains an account of the death of Jesus differing significantly from the canonical gospels. It contains little information about Peter himself, except that after the discovery of the empty tomb
Empty tomb
Empty tomb most often refers to the tomb of Jesus which was found to be empty by the women who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. They had come to his tomb to anoint his body with spices...

, "I, Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother, took our fishing nets and went to the sea."

19th century


Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism
Mormonism
Mormonism is the religion practiced by Mormons, and is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. beginning in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself...

, recorded in multiple revelations that Peter appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery
Oliver Cowdery
Oliver H. P. Cowdery was, with Joseph Smith, Jr., an important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836, becoming one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, and the Second Elder of...

 in 1829 in order to bestow the apostleship and keys of the kingdom as part of a restoration of priesthood authority.

Catholic Church



According to Catholic belief, Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and chief pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

 of the whole Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

—the Vicar of Christ
Vicar of Christ
Vicar of Christ is a term used in different ways, with different theological connotations throughout history...

 upon Earth. Although Peter never bore the title of "Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

", or "Vicar of Christ", the Catholic Church believes him to be the first Pope. Therefore, they consider every pope to be Peter's successor and the rightful superior of all other bishops
Bishop (Catholic Church)
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church....

.

The Catholic Church's recognition of Peter as head of its church on Earth (with Christ being its heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

ly head) is based on its interpretation of two passages from the Canonical Gospels of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

; as well as Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

. The first passage is which is: "Feed my lambs, feed my lambs, feed my sheep" (within the Greek it is Ποίμαινε i.e., to feed and rule [as a Shepherd]., v. 16 while Βόσκε i.e., to feed., for v.15 & v. 17)—which is seen by Catholics as Christ promising the spiritual supremacy to Peter. The Catholic Encyclopedia sees in this passage Jesus "charging [Peter] with the superintendency of all his sheep, without exception; and consequently of his whole flock, that is, of his own church”. The second passage is :
Christ spoke here in the Syriac tongue, hence:

| (Peshitta) }}

Pétrus and pétra are the Greek equivalent to the Syriac Cephah which means "rock", and there is no difference at all between Pétrus and
pétra.

To better understand what Christ meant, St. Basil elaborates :
In reference to Peter's occupation before becoming an Apostle, the popes wear the Fisherman's Ring, which bears an image of the saint casting his nets from a fishing boat. The keys used as a symbol of the pope's authority refer to the "keys of the kingdom of Heaven" promised to Peter. The terminology of this "commission" of Peter is unmistakably parallel to the commissioning of Eliakim ben Hilkiah in . Peter is often depicted in both Western and Eastern Christian art holding a key or a set of keys.

Though the authenticity of this account has been challenged, the general consensus is that these are Jesus' words.

Feast days



The Roman Martyrology
Roman Martyrology
The Roman Martyrology is the official martyrology of the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. It provides an extensive but not exhaustive list of the saints recognized by the Church.-History:...

 assigns 29 June as the feast day
Calendar of saints
The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the feast day of said saint...

 of both Peter and Paul, without thereby declaring that to be the day of their deaths. St. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 says in his Sermon 295: "One day is assigned for the celebration of the martyrdom of the two apostles. But those two were one. Although their martyrdom occurred on different days, they were one."

This is also the feast of both Apostles
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

 in the calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

.

In the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

, the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
Chair of Saint Peter
The Chair of Saint Peter is a relic conserved in St. Peter's Basilica, enclosed in a gilt bronze casing that was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and executed 1647-53....

 is celebrated on 22 February, and the anniversary of the dedication of the two papal basilicas of Saint Peter's
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 and Saint Paul's outside the Walls
Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
The Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls , commonly known as St Paul's Outside the Walls, is one of four churches that are the great ancient major basilicas or papal basilicas of Rome: the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Peter's and Saint Paul Outside the Walls...

 is held on 18 November.

Before Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

's revision in 1960, the Roman Calendar also included on 18 January another feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (denominated the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome, while the February feast was then called that of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch), and on 1 August the feast of Saint Peter in Chains
Liberation of Saint Peter
The Liberation of Saint Peter is a story told in the Acts of the Apostles in which Saint Peter is rescued from prison by an angel. Although described in a short textual passage, the tale has given rise to theological discussions and has been the subject of a number of artworks.-Biblical...

.

St. Peter's Basilica



In the early 4th century, the Emperor Constantine I decided to honour Peter with a large basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

. Because the precise location of Peter's burial was so firmly fixed in the belief of the Christians of Rome, the church to house the basilica had to be erected on a site that was not convenient to construction. The slope of the Vatican Hill had to be excavated, even though the church could much more easily have been built on level ground only slightly to the south. There were also moral and legal issues, such as demolishing a cemetery to make room for the building. The focal point of the Basilica, both in its original form and in its later complete reconstruction, is the altar located over what is said to be the point of Peter's burial.

Protestants and other views


A major debate between Catholics and Protestants centers on Matthew 16:18 where Jesus tells Peter: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church..." Catholics interpret the verse as saying that Jesus would build his church on Peter, the apostle. The traditional Catholic interpretation has been that Jesus told Peter (Rock) that he would build his Church on this Rock (Peter), and that Peter was made the shepherd of the apostolic flock—hence their assertion of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.

Meaning of "Rock"


In the original Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 the word translated as "Peter" is Πέτρος (Petros) and that translated as "rock" is πέτρα (petra), two words that, while not identical, give an impression of one of many times when Jesus used a play on words. Furthermore, since Jesus presumably spoke to Peter in their native Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, he would have used
kepha in both instances. The Peshitta Text and the Old Syriac text use the word "kepha" for both "Peter" and "rock" in . says Jesus called Simon "Cephas", as does Paul in some letters. He was instructed by Christ to strengthen his brethren, i.e., the apostles. Peter also had a leadership role in the early Christian church at Jerusalem according to The Acts of the Apostles chapters 1–2, 10–11, and 15.

Early Catholic Latin and Greek writers (such as St. John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

) considered the "foundation rock" as applying to both Peter personally and his confession of faith (or the faith of his confession) symbolically, as well as seeing Christ's promise to apply more generally to his twelve apostles and the Church at large. This "double meaning" interpretation is present in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

.

Protestant counter-claims to the Catholic interpretation are largely based on the difference between the Greek words translated "Rock" in the Matthean passage. In classical Attic Greek petros generally meant "pebble," while petra meant "boulder" or "cliff." Accordingly, taking Peter's name to mean "pebble," they argue that the "rock" in question cannot have been Peter, but something else, either Jesus himself, or the faith in Jesus that Peter had just professed. However, the New Testament was written in Koiné Greek, not Attic Greek, and some authorities say no significant difference existed between the meanings of petros and petra.


However, even though the feminine noun
petra is translated as rock in the phrase "on this rock I will build my church," the word petra (πέτρα in Greek) is also used at in describing Jesus Christ, which reads: "They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ."

Although is used as a primary proof-text for the Catholic doctrine of Papal supremacy, Protestant scholars say that prior to the Reformation of the 16th century, Matthew 16 was very rarely used to support papal claims. Their position is that most of the early and medieval Church interpreted the 'rock' as being a reference either to Christ or to Peter's faith, not Peter himself. They understand Jesus' remark to have been his affirmation of Peter's testimony that Jesus was the Son of God.

Other theologically conservative Christians, including Confessional Lutherans, also rebut comments made by Karl Keating and D.A. Carson who claim that there is no distinction between the words petros and petra in Koine Greek. The Lutheran theologians state that the dictionaries of Koine/NT Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

, including the authoritative Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich Lexicon
Bauer lexicon
The Bauer-Danker Lexicon is among the most highly respected dictionaries of Biblical Greek. The author of the German original is Walter Bauer...

, indeed list both words and the passages that give different meanings for each. The Lutheran theologians further note that:

Partial Protestant support


Partial support for the Catholic position comes from one of Protestantism's most distinguished Church historians, Oscar Cullmann, a Lutheran theologian. He disagrees with Luther and the Protestant reformers who held that by "rock" Christ did not mean Peter, but meant either himself or the faith of His followers. He believes the meaning of the original Aramaic is very clear: that "Kepha" was the Aramaic word for "rock", and that it was also the name by which Christ called Peter.

Yet, Cullmann sharply rejects the Catholic claim that Peter began the papal succession. He writes: "In the life of Peter there is no starting point for a chain of succession to the leadership of the church at large." While he believes the Matthew text is entirely valid and is in no way spurious, he says it cannot be used as "warrant of the papal succession."

Cullmann concludes that while Peter was the original head of the apostles, Peter was not the founder of any visible church succession.

There are other Protestant scholars who also partially defend the historical Catholic position about "Rock." Taking a somewhat different approach from Cullman, they point out that the Gospel of Matthew was not written in the classical Attic form of Greek, but in the Hellenistic Koine dialect
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 in which there is no distinction in meaning between petros and petra. Moreover, even in Attic Greek, in which the regular meaning of petros was a smallish "stone," there are instances of its use to refer to larger rocks, as in Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, Oedipus at Colonus
Oedipus at Colonus
Oedipus at Colonus is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles...

v. 1595, where petros refers to a boulder used as a landmark, obviously something more than a pebble. In any case, a petros/petra distinction is irrelevant considering the Aramaic language in which the phrase might well have been spoken. In Greek, of any period, the feminine noun petra could not be used as the given name of a male, which may explain the use of Petros as the Greek word with which to translate Aramaic Kepha.

Yet, still other Protestant scholars believe that Jesus in fact did mean to single out Peter as the very rock which he will build upon, but that the passage does nothing to indicate a continued succession of Peter's implied position. They assert that Matthew uses the demonstrative pronoun taute, which allegedly means "this very" or this same, when he refers to the rock on which Jesus' church will be built. He also uses the Greek word for "and", kai. It is alleged that when a demonstrative pronoun is used with kai, the pronoun refers back to the preceding noun. The second rock Jesus refers to must then be the same rock as the first one; and if Peter is the first rock he must also be the second.

Eastern Orthodox



The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 regards Apostle Peter, together with Apostle Paul, as "Preeminent Apostles". Another title used for Peter is Coryphaeus, which could be translated as "Choir-director", or lead singer. The church recognizes Apostle Peter's leadership role in the early church, especially in the very early days at Jerusalem, but does not consider him to have had any "princely" role over his fellow Apostles.

The New Testament is not seen by the Orthodox as supporting any extraordinary authority for Peter with regard to faith or morals. The Orthodox also hold that Peter did not act as leader at the Council of Jerusalem
Council of Jerusalem
The Council of Jerusalem is a name applied by historians and theologians to an Early Christian council that was held in Jerusalem and dated to around the year 50. It is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later Ecumenical Councils...

, but as merely one of a number who spoke. The final decision regarding the non-necessity of circumcision
Circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

 (and certain prohibitions) was spelled out by James, the Brother of the Lord (though Catholics hold James merely reiterated and fleshed out what Peter had said, regarding the latter's earlier divine revelation regarding the inclusion of Gentiles).

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox do not recognize the Bishop of Rome as the successor of St. Peter but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople sends a delegation each year to Rome to participate in the celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. In the Ravenna Document
Declaration of Ravenna
The Declaration of Ravenna is a Roman Catholic–Eastern Orthodox document issued in 2007 re-asserting that the bishop of Rome is indeed the Protos, although future discussions are to be held on the concrete ecclesiological exercise of papal primacy....

 of 13 October 2007, the representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 agreed that "Rome, as the Church that 'presides in love' according to the phrase of St. Ignatius of Antioch (To the Romans, Prologue), occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs, if the Papacy unites with the Orthodox Church. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium."

With regard to Jesus' words to Peter, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church", the Orthodox hold Christ is referring to the confession of faith, not the person of Peter as that upon which he will build the church. This is allegedly shown by the fact that the original Greek uses the feminine demonstrative pronoun when he says "upon this rock" (ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ); whereas, grammatically, if he had been referring to Peter, he would allegedly have used the masculine. This "gender distinction" argument is also held by some Protestants.

Feast days


In the Orthodox Daily Office every Thursday throughout the year is dedicated to the Holy Apostles, including St. Peter. There are also two feast days in the year which are dedicated to him:
  • June 29, Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
    Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
    The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June...

    —This is a major feast day and is preceded by a period of Lenten fasting known as the Apostles' Fast
    Apostles' Fast
    The Apostles' Fast, also called the Fast of the Holy Apostles, the Fast of Peter and Paul, or sometimes St. Peter's Fast, is a fast observed by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians...

  • January 16, Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy and All-Glorious Apostle Peter
    Liberation of Saint Peter
    The Liberation of Saint Peter is a story told in the Acts of the Apostles in which Saint Peter is rescued from prison by an angel. Although described in a short textual passage, the tale has given rise to theological discussions and has been the subject of a number of artworks.-Biblical...

    —commemorating both the chains which says miraculously fell from him, and the chains in which he was held before his martyr
    Martyr
    A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

    dom by Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

    .

Syriac Orthodox Church


The Fathers of the Syriac Orthodox Church tried to give a theological interpretation to the primacy of Apostle Peter. They were fully convinced of the unique office of Peter in the primitive Christian community. Ephrem
Ephrem the Syrian
Ephrem the Syrian was a Syriac and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, and especially in the Syriac Orthodox Church, as a saint.Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as...

, Aphrahat
Aphrahat
Aphrahat was a Syriac-Christian author of the 4th century from the Adiabene region of Northern Mesopotamia, which was within the Persian Empire, who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice...

 and Marutha
Marutha
Marutha is a small town in Nilambur taluk of Malappuram district. There is no place name named Marutha, but commonly calling an area includes different place names. Marutha is a part of Vazhikkadavu Panchayath and is known for its gold deposits along the banks of river Maruthappuzha...

 who were supposed to be the best exponents of the early Syriac tradition
Syriac Christianity
Syriac or Syrian Christianity , the Syriac-speaking Christians of Mesopotamia, comprises multiple Christian traditions of Eastern Christianity. With a history going back to the 1st Century AD, in modern times it is represented by denominations primarily in the Middle East and in Kerala, India....

 unequivocally acknowledge the office of Peter.

The Syriac Fathers following the rabbinic tradition call Jesus “Kepha
Kepha
Kepha is a growing brotherhood of Catholic fathers and sons in seven states. Faithful to the Holy Father, they promote the Culture of Life through monthly retreats and shared daily prayers and provoke each other to Heaven according to their motto, "Dynamic Orthodoxy, Infectious Joy." It is a...

” for they see “rock” in the Old Testament as a messianic Symbol. When Christ gave his own name “Kepha” to Simon he was giving him participation in the person and office of Christ. Christ who is the Kepha and shepherd made Simon the chief shepherd in his place and gave him the very name Kepha and said that on Kepha he would build the Church. Aphrahat
Aphrahat
Aphrahat was a Syriac-Christian author of the 4th century from the Adiabene region of Northern Mesopotamia, which was within the Persian Empire, who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice...

 shared the common Syriac tradition. For him Kepha is in fact another name of Jesus, and Simon was given the right to share the name. The person who receives somebody else’s name also obtains the rights of the person who bestows the name. Aphrahat makes the stone taken from Jordan a type of Peter. He says Jesus son of Nun set up the stones for a witness in Israel; Jesus our Saviour called Simon Kepha Sarirto and set him as the faithful witness among nations.

Again he says in his commentary on Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 that Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 brought forth water from “rock” (Kepha) for the people and Jesus sent Simon Kepha to carry his teachings among nations. Our Lord accepted him and made him the foundation of the Church and called him Kepha
Kepha
Kepha is a growing brotherhood of Catholic fathers and sons in seven states. Faithful to the Holy Father, they promote the Culture of Life through monthly retreats and shared daily prayers and provoke each other to Heaven according to their motto, "Dynamic Orthodoxy, Infectious Joy." It is a...

. When he speaks about transfiguration of Christ he calls him Simon Peter, the foundation of the Church. Ephrem also shared the same view. In Armenian version of De Virginitate records Peter the Rock shunned honour Who was the head of the Apostles. In a mimro of Efrem found in Holy Week Liturgy points to the importance of Peter.

Both Aphrahat
Aphrahat
Aphrahat was a Syriac-Christian author of the 4th century from the Adiabene region of Northern Mesopotamia, which was within the Persian Empire, who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice...

 and Ephrem
Ephrem the Syrian
Ephrem the Syrian was a Syriac and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, and especially in the Syriac Orthodox Church, as a saint.Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as...

 represent the authentic tradition of the Syrian Church. The different orders of liturgies used for sanctification of Church building, marriage, ordination etc. reveal that the primacy of Peter is a part of living faith of the Church.

New Apostolic Church


The New Apostolic Church
New Apostolic Church
The New Apostolic Church is a chiliastic church, converted to Protestantism as a free church from the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church has existed since 1879 in Germany and since 1897 in the Netherlands...

, who believes in the re-established Apostle ministry, sees Peter as the first Chief Apostle
Chief Apostle
The Chief Apostle is the highest minister in the New Apostolic Church, and has existed since 1896.-History:The term "Chief Apostle" was first used officially to describe Jesus Christ in the New Covenant Scriptures, Book of Hebrews, Chapter 3, verse 1, where he is also called the High Priest...

.

Latter Day Saint movement



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or "Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

") along with other sects of the Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

 believe that Peter was the first leader of the early Christian church, but reject papal succession. In interpreting the LDS Church has stated, "The words then addressed to him, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,' have been made the foundation of the papal claims. But it is the Godhead of Christ, which Peter had just confessed, that is the true keystone of the Church." Latter-day saints believe that Peter, James, and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 came from heaven and conferred the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood
Melchizedek priesthood
The Melchizedek priesthood is the greater of the two orders of priesthood recognized in Mormonism. The others are the Aaronic priesthood and the rarely recognized Patriarchal priesthood...

 upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
Oliver Cowdery
Oliver H. P. Cowdery was, with Joseph Smith, Jr., an important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836, becoming one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, and the Second Elder of...

 in 1829, near Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Harmony Township is a township in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 558 at the 2000 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water.-History:Harmony, Pennsylvania, is...

 as part of the restoration of priesthood authority.

Islamic literature



Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s accept Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 also speaks of Jesus's disciples but does not mention their names, instead referring to them as "helpers to the work of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

". Muslim exegesis and Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 commentary, however, names them and includes Peter amongst the disciples. An old tradition, which involves the legend of Habib the Carpenter
Habib the Carpenter
Habib the Carpenter, or Habib Al-Najjar, was, according to the belief of some Muslims, a Muslim martyr who lived in Antioch at the time of Jesus. In Muslim tradition, Habib believed the message of Christ's disciples but was subsequently martyred for his faith. There is shrine in Antioch, below...

, mentions that Peter was one of the three disciples sent to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 to preach to the people there.

Shia Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s see a parallel in the figure of Peter to Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 at Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

's time. They look upon Ali as being the vicegerent
Vicegerent
Vicegerent is the official administrative deputy of a ruler or head of state: vice + gerere .-Related usage:*The Byzantine Emperors held as a title "God's Vicegerent on Earth"....

, with Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 being the prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

; likewise, they see Peter as the vicegerent
Vicegerent
Vicegerent is the official administrative deputy of a ruler or head of state: vice + gerere .-Related usage:*The Byzantine Emperors held as a title "God's Vicegerent on Earth"....

, behind Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 the prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 and messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. Peter's role as the first proper leader of the church is also seen by Shia's to be a parallel to their belief in Ali as the first caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 after Muhammad.

Jewish folklore




According to Jewish folklore (Toledot Yeshu
Toledot Yeshu
Sefer Toledot Yeshu is a medieval version of the story of Jesus from a Jewish perspective. The book concerns Yeshu, son of Joseph and Mary, born in Bethlehem, but also makes this Yeshu a contemporary of Queen Salome Alexandra...

 narrative), St. Peter (Shimeon Kepha Ha-Tzadik) had a pristine reputation as a greatly learned and holy man.

Writings


Traditionally, two canonical epistles (1 and 2 Peter) and several apocryphal works have been attributed to Peter.

New Testament



The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 includes two letters (epistles) ascribed to Peter. Both demonstrate a high quality of cultured and urban Greek, at odds with the linguistic skill that would ordinarily be expected of an Aramaic-speaking fisherman, who would have learned Greek as a second or third language. However, the author of the first epistle explicitly claims to be using a secretary (see below), and this explanation would allow for discrepancies in style without entailing a different source. The textual features of these two epistles are such that a majority of scholars doubt that they were written by the same hand. This means at the most that Peter could not have authored both, or at the least that he used a different secretary for each letter. Some scholars argue that theological differences imply different sources, and point to the lack of references to 2 Peter among the early Church Fathers.

Of the two epistles, the first epistle
First Epistle of Peter
The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch,...

 is considered the earlier. A number of scholars have argued that the textual discrepancies with what would be expected of the biblical Peter are due to it having been written with the help of a secretary or as an amanuensis
Amanuensis
Amanuensis is a Latin word adopted in various languages, including English, for certain persons performing a function by hand, either writing down the words of another or performing manual labour...

. Indeed in the first epistle the use of a secretary is clearly described: "By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand". Thus, in regards to at least the first epistle, the claims that Peter would have written Greek poorly seem irrelevant. The references to persecution of Christians
Persecution of Christians
Persecution of Christians as a consequence of professing their faith can be traced both historically and in the current era. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith, at the hands of both Jews from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Roman Empire which controlled much of the land...

, which only began under Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, cause most scholars to date the text to at least the year 80, which would require Peter to have survived to an age that was, at that time, extremely old, and almost never reached, particularly by common fishermen. However, the Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 and the biographer Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

 both record that Nero's persecution of Christians began immediately after the fire that burned Rome in 64. Such a date, which is in accord with Christian tradition, especially Eusebius (History book 2, 24.1), would not have Peter at an improbable age upon his death. On the other hand, many scholars consider this in reference to the persecution of Christians in Asia Minor during the reign of the emperor Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 (81–96).

In the salutation of the First Epistle of Peter, the writer refers to the diaspora, which did not occur until 136:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

The Second Epistle of Peter
Second Epistle of Peter
The Second Epistle of Peter, often referred to as Second Peter and written 2 Peter or in Roman numerals II Peter , is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times NT scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical.It is the first New Testament book...

, on the other hand, appears to have been copied, in part, from the Epistle of Jude
Epistle of Jude
The Epistle of Jude, often shortened to Jude, is the penultimate book of the New Testament and is attributed to Jude, the brother of James the Just. - Composition :...

, and some modern scholars date its composition as late as c. 150. Some scholars argue the opposite, that the Epistle of Jude copied 2 Peter, while others contend an early date for Jude and thus observe that an early date is not incompatible with the text. Many scholars have noted the similarities between the apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l Second Epistle of Clement
Second Epistle of Clement
The Second Epistle of Clement, often referred to as 2 Clement, is an early Christian writing....

 (2nd century) and 2 Peter. Second Peter may be earlier than 150, there are a few possible references to it that date back to the 1st century or early 2nd century, e.g., 1 Clement written in c. AD 96, and the later church historian Eusebius claimed that Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 had made reference to the epistle before 250. Even in early times there was controversy over its authorship, and 2 Peter was often not included in the Biblical Canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

; it was only in the 4th century that it gained a firm foothold in the New Testament, in a series of synods. In the east the Syrian Orthodox Church still did not admit it into the canon until the 6th century.

Traditionally, the Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 was said to have been written by a person named John Mark
John Mark
John Mark is a character in the New Testament. According to William Lane, an "unbroken tradition" identifies him with Mark the Evangelist. John Mark is mentioned several times in the Acts of the Apostles...

, and that this person was an assistant to Peter, hence its content was traditionally seen as the closest to Peter's viewpoint. According to Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History
Church History (Eusebius)
The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

, Papias recorded this belief from John the Presbyter
John the Presbyter
John the Presbyter is an obscure figure of the early Church who is either distinguished from or identified with the Apostle John, by some also John the Divine. He appears in fragments from the church father Papias of Hierapolis as one of the author's sources and is first unequivocally distinguished...

:
Also Irenaeus wrote about this tradition:
Based on these quotes, and on the Christian tradition, the information in Mark's Gospel about St. Peter would be based on eyewitness material. It should be noted, however, that some scholars (for differing reasons) dispute the attribution of the Gospel of Mark to its traditional author. The gospel itself is anonymous
Anonymous work
Anonymous works are works, such as art or literature, that have an anonymous, undisclosed, or unknown creator or author. In the United States it is legally defined as "a work on the copies or phonorecords of which no natural person is identified as author."...

, and the above passages are the oldest surviving written testimony to its authorship.

Pseudepigrapha and apocrypha



There are also a number of other apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l writings, not recognized by the Church, that have been either attributed to or written about St. Peter. They were from antiquity regarded as pseudepigrapha. These include:
  • Gospel of Peter
    Gospel of Peter
    The Gospel According to Peter , commonly called the Gospel of Peter, is one of the non-Canonical gospels which were rejected by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church's synods of Carthage and Rome, which established the New Testament canon, as apocryphal...

    , a partially Docetic
    Docetism
    In Christianity, docetism is the belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die...

     narrative that has survived in part
  • Acts of Peter
    Acts of Peter
    The Acts of Peter is one of the earliest of the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. It is mainly notable for a description of a miracle contest between Saint Peter and Simon Magus, and as the first record...

  • Acts of Peter and Andrew
    Acts of Peter and Andrew
    The Acts of Peter and Andrew is a short 3rd-century text from the New Testament apocrypha, not to be confused with either the Acts of Andrew or the Acts of Peter...

  • Acts of Peter and Paul
    Acts of Peter and Paul
    The Acts of Peter and Paul is a late text from the New Testament apocrypha, thought to date from after the 4th century. An alternate version exists, known as the Passion of Peter and Paul, with variances in the introductory part of the text.-Synopsis:...

  • Acts of Peter and the Twelve
    Acts of Peter and the Twelve
    The Acts of Peter and the Twelve is one of the texts from the New Testament apocrypha which was found in the Nag Hammadi library.The text contains two parts, an initial allegory, and a subsequent gnostic exposition of its meaning...

  • Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter, not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Peter, is a text found amongst the Nag Hammadi library, and part of the New Testament apocrypha. Like the vast majority of texts in the Nag Hammadi collection, it is heavily gnostic. It was probably written around 100-200 AD...

  • A Letter of Peter to Philip
    Letter of Peter to Philip
    The Letter of Peter to Philip, found in the cache of texts at Nag Hammadi , contains a brief letter purporting to be from Saint Peter to Saint Philip, followed by a narrative and gnostic discourse upon the nature of Christ...

    , which was preserved in the Nag Hammadi library
    Nag Hammadi library
    The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. That year, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman...

  • Apocalypse of Peter
    Apocalypse of Peter
    The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

    , which was considered as genuine by many Christians as late as the 4th century
  • The Epistula Petri, the introductory letter ascribed to Apostle Peter that appears at the beginning of at least one version of the Clementine literature
    Clementine literature
    Clementine literature is the name given to the religious romance which purports to contain a record made by one Clement of discourses...


Popular culture


Over the years "St. Peter" has evolved into a stock character
Stock character
A Stock character is a fictional character based on a common literary or social stereotype. Stock characters rely heavily on cultural types or names for their personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. In their most general form, stock characters are related to literary archetypes,...

 that is now widely used in joke
Joke
A joke is a phrase or a paragraph with a humorous twist. It can be in many different forms, such as a question or short story. To achieve this end, jokes may employ irony, sarcasm, word play and other devices...

s, cartoon
Cartoon
A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works...

s, comedies
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

, drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

s, and plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

. Such caricatures almost all play upon Peter's role as the "keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

" in , on the basis of which he is often depicted as an elderly, bearded man who sits at the pearly gates
Pearly gates
The pearly gates is an informal name for the gateway to Heaven according to some Christian denominations. It is inspired by the description of the New Jerusalem in Book of...

 that serve as heaven's main entrance, often portrayed as a sort of hotel-style doorman
Doorman (profession)
A doorman is an individual hired to provide courtesy and security services at a residential building or hotel. They are particularly common in urban luxury highrises. At a residential building, a doorman is responsible for opening doors and screening visitors and deliveries...

 / bouncer
Bouncer (doorman)
A bouncer is an informal term for a type of security guard employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs or concerts to provide security, check legal age, and refuse entry to a venue based on criteria such as intoxication, aggressive behavior, or attractiveness...

 who personally interviews prospective entrants into Heaven, often seated behind a desk, or standing at a lectern. He usually has a big book in which the names of the saved are written.

In traditional Medieval iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

, Peter is a bald man with a long beard. He usually has one or more large keys in his hand or hanging from his belt.

Patronage


Saint Peter is the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of the following categories


Workers

  • Baker
    Baker
    A baker is someone who bakes and sells bread, Cakes and similar foods may also be produced, as the traditional boundaries between what is produced by a baker as opposed to a pastry chef have blurred in recent decades...

    s
  • Bridge builders
    Engineering
    Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

  • Butcher
    Butcher
    A butcher is a person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat or any combination of these three tasks. They may prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments...

    s
  • Fishermen
    Fisherman
    A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men...

  • Harvest
    Harvest
    Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

    ers

  • Cordwainer
    Cordwainer
    A cordwainer is a shoemaker/cobbler who makes fine soft leather shoes and other luxury footwear articles. The word is derived from "cordwain", or "cordovan", the leather produced in Córdoba, Spain. The term cordwainer was used as early as 1100 in England...

    s
  • Life New Life
    New Life
    "New Life" is the second UK single by Depeche Mode, originally released on 13 June 1981. It was not commercially released in the United States.There were two versions of the song available...

    s
  • Horologists
    Horology
    Horology is the art or science of measuring time. Clocks, watches, clockwork, sundials, clepsydras, timers, time recorders and marine chronometers are all examples of instruments used to measure time.People interested in horology are called horologists...

  • Locksmiths
  • Cobblers
    Shoemaking
    Shoemaking is the process of making footwear. Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or...


  • Masons
    Masonry
    Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

  • Net
    Net (device)
    A net, in its primary meaning, comprises fibers woven in a grid-like structure, and is very infrequently mentioned in discussions of philosophy. It blocks the passage of large items, while letting small items and fluids pass...

     makers
  • The Papacy
  • Shipwrights
  • Stationers
Called for aid in

  • Frenzy
  • Foot problems

  • Fever
    Fever
    Fever is a common medical sign characterized by an elevation of temperature above the normal range of due to an increase in the body temperature regulatory set-point. This increase in set-point triggers increased muscle tone and shivering.As a person's temperature increases, there is, in...


  • Longevity
    Longevity
    The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected ....

Institutions

  • Bath Abbey
    Bath Abbey
    The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England...

  • Berchtesgaden Provostry
    Berchtesgaden Provostry
    Berchtesgaden Provostry or the Prince-Provostry of Berchtesgaden was an immediate principality of the Holy Roman Empire, held by a canonry, i.e...

  • Bishop Cotton Boys' School, Bangalore
    Bishop Cotton Boys School
    Bishop Cotton Boys' School, also referred to as the Eton of the East is an all-boys school for boarders and day scholars in Bangalore, Karnataka, India....


  • Exeter College, Oxford
    Exeter College, Oxford
    Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University. The main entrance is on the east side of Turl Street...

  • Universalist Church
    Christian Universalism
    Christian Universalism is a school of Christian theology which includes the belief in the doctrine of universal reconciliation, the view that all human beings or all fallen creatures will ultimately be restored to right relationship with God....


  • Peterhouse, Cambridge
    Peterhouse, Cambridge
    Peterhouse is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the oldest college of the University, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely...

  • St Peter's College, Oxford
    St Peter's College, Oxford
    St Peter's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, located in New Inn Hall Street. It occupies the site of two of the University's oldest Inns, or medieval hostels - Bishop Trellick's, later New Inn Hall, and Rose Hall - both of which were...

  • St Peter's College, Auckland
    St Peter's College, Auckland
    St Peter's College is a Catholic college for year 7 to 13 boys . The school, located in Auckland, is one of the largest Catholic schools in New Zealand and is an integrated school under an integration agreement entered into by the Catholic Bishop of Auckland and the Government of New Zealand in...

  • Saint Peter's College, New Jersey
    Saint Peter's College, New Jersey
    Saint Peter's College is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic college in the United States. Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, it was founded in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. Today, Saint Peter's College is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities...

  • Saint Peter's School, York
Churches and Cathedrals
  • The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter
    St. Peter's Basilica
    The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

    , Rome
  • List of churches dedicated to St Peter
    St. Peter's Church
    St. Peter's Church, or variations on that name including Old St. Peter's Church, may refer to:-Bermuda:* St. Peter's Church, St. George's, the oldest-surviving Anglican church outside the British Isles, and the oldest surviving Protestant church in the New World.-Ireland:* St. Peter's Church,...

  • Locations

    • Birżebbuġa
      Birzebbuga
      Birżebbuġa is a small but flourishing seaside resort not far from Marsaxlokk in south-east Malta. It is approximately 8 miles from the City of Valletta. Popular among Maltese holiday-makers for decades, this village is perhaps best known for its important archaeological sites, especially Għar...

    • Bremen
    • Brgy. San Pedro, San Pablo City
      San Pedro, San Pablo City
      Barangay San Pedro is one of the 80 barangays of San Pablo City, Philippines. It is located in the northern portion of the city and bounded by Brgy. San Lucas 2 and Brgy. Concepcion on south, Brgy. Sta. Maria Magdalena on west, Brgy. Dolores on north, and Brgy. Sta. Isabel on east....

    • Worms
      Worms, Germany
      Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

    • Calatrava
      Calatrava, Negros Occidental
      Calatrava is a 1st class municipality in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 74,623 people in 15,151 households. The current mayor is Araceli Somosa.-Barangays:...

    • Chartres
      Chartres
      Chartres is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France. It is located southwest of Paris.-Geography:Chartres is built on the left bank of the Eure River, on a hill crowned by its famous cathedral, the spires of which are a landmark in the surrounding country...

    • Chimbote
      Chimbote
      Chimbote is the largest city in the Ancash Region of Peru, and the capital of both Santa Province and Chimbote District.The city is located on the coast in Chimbote Bay, south of Trujillo and north of Lima on the North Pan-American highway. It is the start of a chain of important cities like...

    • Calbayog City
      Calbayog City
      Calbayog City is a first class city in the province of Samar, Philippines. It lies along the coastal region of the province stretching about from the northern tip of the island and from southern boundaries...

    • Cologne
      Cologne
      Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

    • Davao
      Davao
      Davao refers to several closely related places in Mindanao in the Philippines. The term is used most often to refer to the city.*Davao Region, an administrative region*Davao del Norte province*Davao del Sur province*Davao Oriental province...

    • Dunajská Streda
      Dunajská Streda
      Dunajská Streda is a town in southern Slovakia . Dunajská Streda is the most important town of the Žitný ostrov region. It has a Hungarian ethnic majority and its population is 23,562 -Name:...

    • Ilovik
      Ilovik
      The islands of Ilovik and Sveti Petar are located in Croatia south of the island Lošinj , separated by the strait of Ilovik .-Geography:...

       i Sveti Petar
    • Jackson
      Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

    • Köpenick
      Köpenick
      Köpenick is a historic town and locality that is situated at the confluence of the rivers Dahme and Spree in the south-east of the German capital city of Berlin. It was formerly known as Copanic and then Cöpenick, only officially adopting the current spelling in 1931...


    • Las Vegas
      Las Vegas, Nevada
      Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

    • Leuven
      Leuven
      Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

    • Leiden
    • Lessines
      Lessines
      Lessines is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006 Lessines had a total population of 17,848. The total area is 72.29 km² which gives a population density of 247 inhabitants per km²...

    • Maralal
      Maralal
      Maralal is a small hillside market town in northern Kenya, lying east of the Loroghi Plateau within the Samburu District. It is the administrative headquarters of the Samburu people. The town has an urban population of 16,281 . The market was pioneered by some Somali settlers in the 1920s.Nearby...

    • Marquette
      Marquette, Michigan
      Marquette is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Marquette County. The population was 21,355 at the 2010 census, making it the most populated city of the Upper Peninsula. Marquette is a major port on Lake Superior, primarily for shipping iron ore and is the home of Northern...

    • Moissac
      Moissac
      Moissac is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France. It is famous world-wide mostly for the artistic heritage handed down by the ancient Saint-Pierre Abbey.-History:...

    • Naumburg
      Naumburg
      Naumburg is a town in Germany, on the Saale River. It is in the district Burgenlandkreis in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. It is approximately southwest of Leipzig, south-southwest of Halle, and north-northeast of Jena....

    • Obermarsberg
      Obermarsberg
      Obermarsberg, previously Eresburg, is one of seventeen quarters in the municipality of Marsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on a hill 130m above the Diemel River, a tributary of the Weser River.-History:...

    • Peterborough
      Peterborough
      Peterborough is a cathedral city and unitary authority area in the East of England, with an estimated population of in June 2007. For ceremonial purposes it is in the county of Cambridgeshire. Situated north of London, the city stands on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea...

    • Philadelphia
    • Poznań
      Poznan
      Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

    • Providence
      Providence, Rhode Island
      Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

    • Pubnico, Nova Scotia

    • Regensburg
      Regensburg
      Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

    • Rome
      Rome
      Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

    • Póvoa de Varzim
      Póvoa de Varzim
      Póvoa de Varzim is a Portuguese city in the Norte Region and sub-region of Greater Porto, with a 2011 estimated population of 63,364. According to the 2001 census, there were 63,470 inhabitants with 42,396 living in the city proper. The urban area expanded, southwards, to Vila do Conde, and there...

    • Saint Petersburg
      Saint Petersburg
      Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

    • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
    • San Pedro, Laguna
      San Pedro, Laguna
      The City of San Pedro is a first class Municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. It is named after its patron saint, Saint Peter. San Pedro is Laguna's gateway to Metro Manila since it lies on the boundary with Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila's southernmost city...

    • San Pedro Soloma
      San Pedro Soloma
      San Pedro Soloma or Soloma is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. It is situated in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes at 2,300 m above sea level. The municipality covers a total area of 264 km2 with elevations ranging from 1,900 m to 3,500 m...

    • Scranton
      Scranton, Pennsylvania
      Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

    • Seixal Municipality
    • Sunderland
    • Sintra
      Sintra
      Sintra is a town within the municipality of Sintra in the Grande Lisboa subregion of Portugal. Owing to its 19th century Romantic architecture and landscapes, becoming a major tourist centre, visited by many day-trippers who travel from the urbanized suburbs and capital of Lisbon.In addition to...

    • Sint-Pieters-Rode
      Holsbeek
      Holsbeek is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the towns of Holsbeek proper, Kortrijk-Dutsel, Nieuwrode and Sint-Pieters-Rode. On January 1, 2006 Holsbeek had a total population of 9,205...

    • Tielt
      Tielt
      Tielt is a Belgian municipality in the province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Tielt proper and the towns of Aarsele, Kanegem, and Schuiferskapelle.-History:Some traces of Gallo-Roman occupation have been found in this area...

    • Toa Baja
    • Umbria

    Holy relics


    Pope Vitalian
    Pope Vitalian
    Pope Saint Vitalianus was Pope of the Catholic Church from July 30, 657, until January 27, 672.He was born in Segni, Lazio, the son of Anastasius.-Reign:...

     sent filings from Apostle Peter's chains to Oswy, King of Northumbria
    Northumbria
    Northumbria was a medieval kingdom of the Angles, in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland, becoming subsequently an earldom in a united Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. The name reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary.Northumbria was...

     in the 7th century.

    Peter's remains continue to be subject of investigation, but his tomb is located under Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, which was announced by Pope Pius XII
    Pope Pius XII
    The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

     on Christmas Day in 1950 after years of painstaking research.

    Revisionist views


    Many Protestant scholars accept the traditional story of Peter's martyrdom in Rome. Some Protestants, however, have rejected Peter's martyrdom as a later invention, arguing that evidence of Peter exists only in Biblical accounts.

    It has also been claimed that there was a serious division between Peter's Jewish Christian party and Paul's Hellenizing party, seen in e.g. the Incident at Antioch, which later Christian accounts have downplayed.

    Another revisionist view was developed by supporters of the Christ myth theory, which holds that the figure of Peter is largely a development from some mythological doorkeeper figures. According to Arthur Drews
    Arthur Drews
    Christian Heinrich Arthur Drews [pronounced "drefs"] was a German philosopher, writer, and important representative of German Monist thought. He was born in Uetersen, Holstein, present day Germany....

     and G. A. Wells
    George Albert Wells
    George Albert Wells , usually known as G. A. Wells, is an Emeritus Professor of German at Birkbeck, University of London. He is best known as an advocate of the idea that Jesus is a largely mythical rather than a historical figure....

    , if there was a historical Peter, then all that is known about him is the brief mentions in Galatians.

    See also

    • Peter and Paul
      Peter and Paul
      Peter and Paul is a 1981 film starring Anthony Hopkins as Paul of Tarsus and Robert Foxworth as Peter the Fisherman, David Gwillim as Mark and Jon Finch as Luke. It was directed by Robert Day. The film mostly shows the works of Paul, beginning with his being struck down and converted by the Lord...

    • Quo Vadis
    • Saint Peter and Islam
    • Saint Peter's Square
      Saint Peter's Square
      Saint Peter's Square is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome .-History of St...

    • Saint Peter's tomb
      Saint Peter's tomb
      Saint Peter's tomb is a site under St. Peter's Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of St. Peter's grave. St. Peter's tomb is near the west end of a complex of mausoleums that date between about AD 130 and...

    • Saint Peter and Judaism
      Saint Peter and Judaism
      The relationship between Saint Peter and Judaism is thought to have been fairly positive. Saint Peter, whom Roman Catholics regard as the first Pope, is mentioned in Jewish folklore as a learned and holy man.-Jewish background:...

    • San Pietro in Vincoli
      San Pietro in Vincoli
      San Pietro in Vincoli is a Roman Catholic titular church and minor basilica in Rome, Italy, best known for being the home of Michelangelo's statue of Moses, part of the tomb of Pope Julius II.-History:...

    • St. Peter's Basilica
      St. Peter's Basilica
      The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

    • Sword of Saint Peter
      Sword of Saint Peter
      The Sword of Saint Peter is allegedly the sword with which the Apostle Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant at the time of Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane.The sword is wide-tipped, similar in shape to a dussack or machete...

    • The Big Fisherman
      The Big Fisherman
      The Big Fisherman is a 1959 American film directed by Frank Borzage about the later life of Peter, one of the closest disciples of Jesus.The film is adapted from a novel written by Lloyd C. Douglas...


    External links