St. Peter's original name was Simon or Symeon. (Acts 15:14; II Peter 1:1). He was the son of Jona (Johannes) and was born in Bethsaida (John 1:42, 44), a town on Lake Genesareth. The Apostle Andrew was his brother, and the Apostle Philip came from the same town.
Simon settled in Capharnaum, where he was living with his mother-in-law in his own house (Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38) at the beginning of Christ's public ministry (about A.D. 26-28). Simon was thus married, and, according to Clement of Alexandria, had children.
He pursued the profitable occupation of fisherman, possessing his own boat (Luke 5:3). His brother Andrew, a follower of Jesus, brought him to Jesus, who, looking upon him, said: "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter". Later, Jesus actually gave Simon the name of Cephas (Petrus), after which he was usually called Peter, especially by Christ on the solemn occasion after Peter's profession of faith (Matthew 16:18).
In spite of his devotion to Jesus, Peter had at first no clear knowledge of the mission and work of the Saviour. The sufferings of Christ especially, as contradictory to his worldly conception of the Messiah, were inconceivable to him, and his erroneous conception occasionally elicited a sharp reproof from Jesus (Matthew 16:21-23, Mark 8:31-33).
Christ gave Peter a special commission to feed and defend His flock, after Peter had thrice affirmed his love for his Master (John, 21, 15-17). yet it was Peter who famously denied Christ three times “before the cock crowed” on the day of the Crucifixion.
After the death of Christ, Peter undertook a missionary tour: In Lydda he cured the palsied Eneas, in Joppe he raised Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead; and at Caesarea, he baptized and received into the Church the first non-Jewish Christians, the centurion Cornelius and his kinsmen.
Saint Peter laboured in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended
his earthly course by martyrdom. He is called the Chief Apostle and the Keeper of
the Keys. He is petitiond for the unlocking of doors and the opening of the way.
Related pages of interest:
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- Gods and Saints as Lucky Figures
- The Relationship between Luck, Protection, Religion, and Magic
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