Saint Peter, our Patron
Saint Peter, Our Patron
Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ordained by Jesus in the "Rock of My Church" written in Matthew 16:17-18, which says, "Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man!
Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.'"
In Matthew 14, Jesus and his disciples came ashore, where a large crowd waited. Jesus healed the sick and by the end of the day, his disciples told him to tell everyone to go to the villages for food but Jesus performed a miracle and made give loaves of bread and two fish feed the group of five-hundred people. Following the miracle, Jesus told the disciples to take their boat to the other side of a nearby river while he sent the crowds away.
It was there that Peter challenged Jesus in his ability to cross the water. Jesus told him to come so Peter began to walk toward Jesus on the surface of the water. It wasn't until he noticed the wind that he began to fear and cried "Lord ... save me!" Jesus touched him and said, "You have so little faith ... why did you doubt?"
This is one of many stories involving Peter and Jesus. Regardless of his claims to save Jesus, Peter did deny Christ three times. His denials were recorded in Mark 14:66-72.
Peter was captured and imprisoned at the hands of King Herod. Following his escape, Peter resumed his apostolate in Jerusalem and his missionary efforts included travels to such cities of the pagan world as Antioch, Corinth, and eventually Rome. He made reference to the Eternal City in his first Epistle by noting that he writes from Babylon. Through a variety of works, it is certain that Peter died in Rome and that his martyrdom came during the reign of Emperor Nero, believed to be in 64 AD.
According to rich tradition, Peter was crucified on the Vatican Hill upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord. He was then buried in Rome near the Vatican on Vatican Hill.
While Peter's chief feast day is June 29, he is also honored on February 22 and November 18. In liturgical art, he is depicted as an elderly man holding a key and a book. His symbols include an inverted cross, a boat, and the cock.