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St Peter

The life and role of the Vicar of Christ is well known to all Christians.

Simon bar-Jona was Galilean, a fisherman, married, son of Jona and the brother of Saint Andrew. Upon Christ's first meeting with him (according to one gospel account, it happens later in others) Jesus changes his name to Kephas, which means rock. Only in Greek and Latin do two words emerge for his name, ie Petra and Petros.

Peter is chosen to be that rock upon which Jesus will build His Church, when Peter answers our Lord's question "and Who do you think that I am?". Peter responds, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God".

Much of the Gospels (with the exception of Mark's Gospel - which was authored under the influence of Saint Peter) and the Acts have Peter at its center. His thricefold denial of Christ is well detailed by all four gospels even though this would seem a lesser event in the Paschal narrative, and that with his presence at almost every appearance of Christ both before and after his Ascension attests to his prominence.

Peter affected the conversion of Cornelius, and this would ultimately lead to a debate over circumcision and interaction with gentiles, settled in the first oecumenical council of the Church; the Council of Jerusalem, in AD 48. Peter was also called upon to decide the fate of Ananias and Saphira.

Peter's passion comes in Rome during the reign of Nero (d. 68 AD). No written account exists of this, but an old Tradition holds that he was held in Mamertine prison, and probably crucified head down in the gardens of Nero.

His denial of Christ has also given us the Tradition that Peter arose at 4 AM the rest of his life to cry and lament over the denial of Christ the night before His Passion. This is also the reason he requested inverted crucifixion, feeling unworthy to die upright as his Master had died.





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