Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simon Peter

St. Peter in Prison by Rembrandt, 1631Saint Peter, also known as Simon ben Jonah/BarJonah, Simon Peter, Cephas and Kepha — original name Simon or Simeon (Acts 15:14) — was one of the Twelve Apostles whom Jesus chose as his original disciples. His life is prominently featured in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. A Galilean fisherman, he (with his brother Andrew) was literally "called" by Jesus to be a disciple. Above all the other disciples, Peter was assigned a leadership role by Jesus (Matt 16:18; John 21:15–16); and many within the early Church, such as St Clement of Rome and St Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses 3:3:20), mention his primacy.

The ancient Christian Churches, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, consider Simon Peter a saint and associate him with the foundation of the Church in Rome, even if they differ on the significance of this for the position of the see of Rome and of the Pope in present-day Christianity.

Some who recognize his office as Bishop of Antioch and, later, as Bishop of Rome hold that his episcopacy held a primacy only of honour, as a first among equals.


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