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Saint Peter

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Saint Peter (died c. 67) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. His original name was Simon, but he was given the nickname of Peter, which means rock or stone in Greek (Petros). Paul generally called him Cephas, which is the Aramaic equivalent of the nickname.

Before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter was a fisherman. In later tradition, Peter is considered the first bishop of Antioch and later bishop of Rome. The Roman Catholic Church makes use of his position as first bishop of Rome in the case for papal primacy.

The 21st chapter of the Gospel of John indicates that Peter was martyred by crucifixion, and Clement of Rome, c. 95, placed his death in the time of Nero. Later traditions hold that he was crucified upside-down by the Romans and, on the way to his execution, he encountered Jesus and asked: Domine, Quo Vadis? ("Lord, where are you going?"). He was succeeded by Pope Linus (67-76).

The New Testament includes two letters ascribed to Peter: the First Epistle of Peter and the Second Epistle of Peter. Based on the quality of the Greek, many scholars doubt that the apostle Peter actually penned those letters, but opinions are divided as to whether they were composed by his secretary (amanuensis) or by a follower after this death.

See also: St. Peter's Basilica, Quo vadis, The Big Fisherman



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