A-Z: General definitions: Peter


One of the twelve apostles. Originally called Simon but given the name Cephas by Jesus (the Greek equivalent being 'Peter', meaning 'rock'). His declaration of faith in Jesus evoked the promise 'you are Peter; and on this rock I will build my church' I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 16:13-20) . His later denial of Jesus was followed by repentance and a fresh commission to care for Christ's followers. In Acts, he emerges as a leader of the Early Church. Early traditions describe him as the first bishop of Rome who was crucified head downwards during the reign of Nero. Often portrayed as the gate-keeper of heaven, holding the keys promised by Christ.


Aramaic: Cephas, Greek: Petros, 'rock'.
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