Peter smallGalileePeter was born in Betsaida (in Galilee). The house in which Peter lived, in Capernaum, is still standing; in the 5th century AD, however, a Christian church was constructed over it.

By profession, he was a fisherman. His father (also a fisherman) was named Jonah (or John); his brother, the apostle Andrew. He and his brother Andrew, along with their partners (the apostles James and John) were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Zebedee (the father of James and John) was also a partner.

So firm was Peter's faith that Jesus gave him the name of Cephas, meaning, in the Syriac language, a rock (Cephas in Aramaic, Petros [rock] in Greek).




Journeys of Peter

Map peterLydda [5] : Peter found a man called Aeneas who had been bed-ridden for eight years through paralysis. Peter said to him "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make your bed." He got to his feet at once. And all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:31-43)

Joppa [6] : a woman called Tabitha died and was laid in an upper room. Peter visited, knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, "Tabitha, get up!" She opened her eyes, and as soon as she saw Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand, helped her to her feet, and then called out to the believers and widows and presented her to them alive. Peter remained in Joppa for some time, staying with a tanner called Simon.

Caesarea [7] : Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Regiment, was a deeply religious man who reverenced God. About three o'clock one afternoon he saw perfectly clearly in a dream an angel of God coming into his room, approaching him, and saying, "Cornelius!" He stared at the angel in terror, and said, "What is it, Lord?" The angel replied, "Your prayers and your deeds of charity have gone up to Heaven and are remembered before God. Now send men to Joppa for a man called Simon, who is also known as Peter. He is staying as a guest with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is down by the sea." He did this, and they fetched Peter back to Cornelius. Peter travels to Caesarea and contrary to Jewish Law enters Cornelius' Gentile home. He preaches the Gospel to the assembled, and Cornelius becomes the first named Gentile Christian. (Acts 10:1-48)

Apart from his journeys with Jesus, and the visit with the apostle John to Samaria after the work of Philip the Evangelist, Peter can be linked to three other locations:

He visited Antioch in Syria (Galatians 2:11)Map corinthMap Antioch

He visited Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:12)

Finally he lived in Rome, and was martyred there in approx. AD64 or 67

Peter is the one who defended the inclusion of the Gentiles (non-Jews) into the Christian Church at the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem. His ministry was primarily to the Jews, as the apostle Paul's was to the Gentiles.

After being imprisoned several times in Jerusalem (because of his faith), Peter left with his wife and possibly others. It is believed that he ministered (in Babylon) to the Jewish colonists there. It is, also, believed to be his location when he wrote his first epistle (1 Peter.)

Peter eventually went to Rome. While there, it is believed that John Mark (the writer of the Gospel of Mark) served as his translator (as he preached.) There is a Church tradition which says that "Mark the disciple and interpreter of the apostle Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome, embodying what he had heard Peter tell." Thus Peter was the source of the Gospel of Mark.

Of the final days of the Peter in Rome, Jowett wrote that Peter was cast into a horrible prison called the Mamertine. For nine months, in absolute darkness, he endured monstrous torture manacled to a post. In spite of all the suffering Peter was subjected to, however, he converted his jailers, Processus, Martinianus, and forty-seven others.

According to Church tradition, the Roman Emperor Nero, publicly announcing himself the chief enemy of God, was led in his fury to slaughter the Apostles. Because of this persecution, Peter was crucified while in Rome in AD67 - but upside-down at Peter's own request since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ..

Catholic tradition holds that Saint Peter's mortal bones and remains are contained in the underground Confessio of the St. Peter's Basilica, a site where Pope Paul VI announced the excavation discovery of a First-century A.D. Roman cemetery in 1968. Since 1969, a life-size statue of Saint Peter is crowned every year in St. Peter's Basilica with a Papal Tiara, Ring of the Fisherman, and papal vestments every June 29th, commemorating the Holy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.