Witnesses to the Resurrection: St Peter

By Jordan Grantham, 29 June 2017
The Denial of St Peter, Caravaggio. Image: Wikimedia Commons

St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Name: St Peter

Death: ~64 – 68AD, crucified upside down in Rome, Vatican Hill.

Feast Day: June 29

Patronage: Locksmiths, Fishermen, the Papacy, and many others.

Shrine: St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

St Peter’s bones are buried beneath the main altar of St Peter’s Basilica.

Altar of St Peter, St Peter’s Basilica. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Scripture and Life Story:

St Peter’s apostleship is extensively referred to in the Gospels and New Testament. St Peter also wrote the Letters of St Peter in the New Testament.

St Peter spent most of his life as a fisherman and came from Bethsaida with his brother St Andrew. While casting a net into the sea, Christ called them to “Come, follow me…and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19)

St Peter is known as the ‘Prince of the Apostles’ for his leadership. Prince is derived from the Latin princeps, which means ‘the first’, or ‘the leader’. He was the first Pope and Holy Father.

Originally named Simon, Christ gave him the name Peter: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18)

St Peter’s “example and conduct was regarded as decisive” in the Acts of the Apostles and at the Council of Jerusalem.


Church Fathers:

St Peter arrived in Rome in 42 AD, early in the reign of Emperor Claudius, according to St Jerome.

The Fathers, including St Ambrose, highly regard the encounter between the Risen Christ and St Peter as he attempted to depart Rome.

Christ was walking back into Rome, so St Peter asked:
“Domine, Quo Vadis?” (“Lord, Where are you going?”)

St Peter then followed Christ back into Rome, where he was crucified on the Ancient Vatican Hill.

That St Peter founded the Church of Rome is the unanimous tradition in the Eastern and Latin Fathers.

St Clement, the successor of St Peter in Rome, wrote a letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to follow the witnesses of St Peter and St Paul.

St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, (130 – 200 AD) wrote that the “two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul” founded the Church of Rome (Against Heresies).


With thanks to Rev Dr Paul Stenhouse MSC, Whatever happened to the twelve apostles? (2006, Chevalier Press)

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