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St Peter
(–64/65
or 67)

Other names: Simon, Simon-Peter, Simon-Petrus, Cephas

Biographical

The son of Jonah or John of Bethsaida, Galilee, and brother of St Andrew, St Peter resided at Capharnaum during the public ministry of Jesus. He moved there after he had married, and it was where Jesus had cured his mother-in-law of a fever. Originally a fisherman, he soon became leader amongst the twelve apostles, and was regarded by Jesus with particular favour and affection. He was the spokesman of the rest on the day of Pentecost, he was the first to baptise a Gentile convert, and he took a prominent part in the council at Jerusalem. At Antioch, he worked for a time in harmony with Paul, but ultimately the famous dispute arose which, with other causes, led to the termination of Paul's ministry in that city. He was regarded by some historians as the head of the Judaic party in opposition to the wider Pauline school. Peter's missionary activity seems to have extended to Pontius, Cappadocia, Galatia, Asia, and Bithynia. That he suffered martyrdom is clear from John XIX 18–19, and is confirmed by ecclesiastical tradition: Eusebius says he was impaled or crucified with his head downward during Nero's persecution; as to the place, tradition from the end of the 2nd century mentions Rome. But the comparatively late tradition which assigns him a continuous bishopric of twenty-five years in Rome from 42 to 67 is unhistorical. Many Protestant scholars deny that Peter was ever in Rome. The first Epistle of Peter is usually accepted as genuine, but not the second. Peter is considered the first pope by the Catholic Church, and the first bishop of Antioch, as Petros I, by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, reigning between c. 37 to 53. He is the patron saint of bookbinders, bridge builders, clockmakers, fever sufferers, fishermen, masons, the papacy, and shipbuilders.

Place of birth: Bethsaida, Galilee
Place of death: Rome
Place of burial: Vatican Hill (location of St Peter's basilica)



 

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