PETER, SAINT, Apostle, named originally Sntox, was a native, of Bethsaida, on the lake of Gentles:fret. Ills father was called Jonas; and the name by which Peter is known in Christian history was given to him by our Lord, who changed his name of origin (liar-Jona) into Cephas, a Syro-Chaldaic word, which means " rock" or stone, and for which pare, or, in the masculine form, pares, is the Greek equivalent. He was a fisherman by occupation, and, together with his brother Andrew, was actually engaged in this occupation on the sea of Galilee Lord called both to be his disciples. promising to make them fishers of men." For this invitation they had been prepared by the preaching of John the Baptist, and they accepted it without hesitation. For the incidents recorded of Peter's life as a. disciple, we must refer to the gospel narrative. These incidents all chiefly evince a warm and impulsive character, even down to the hour of weakness in which he denied his master. It is plain from the gospel narrative that lie was regarded by our Lord with special favor and affection, and the events which followed the ascension of our Lord fall in with this inference from that narrative. lie was the first mover of the election of a new apostle in the room of Judas Iscariot; lie was the spokesmen of the rest on the day of Pentecost: he it was who answered to the charges when they were brought before the council; he is the chief actor in the tragic scene of the death of Ananias and Sapphira; he was the first to break down the wall of the prej udice Of race by receiving a Gentile convert into the church; lie was the first to pro pound in the council of Jerusalem the question to be discussed as to the obligation of the Mosaic observances. The last incident of Peter's life supplied by the Scripture nar rative is his presence in the council of Jerusalem, 49 A.D. Of his subsequent career, our only knowledge is derived from tradition. His special mission was to the Hebrew race, as Paul's to the Gentile; and he is supposed to have preached through Pontus, Galatia. Cappadocia. Asia, and Bithynia, chiefly to those of his own nation dispersed in these countries, all which are named in the address of the first of the two epistles which he has left. Another tradition which, until the 16th c., met general acceptance, reports
that he preached at Rome, that he took up his residence there, as bishop, and that he there suffered martyrdom. This tradition is the main foundation of the Roman claim to supremacy in the church. It early encountered the opposition of the reformers; its first antagonist being a writer named Velerius, whose work was published in 1520, and who was followed by Flacins, Salmasius, and, above all, Spanheim. This view has found supporters in Bauer and the Tubingen school; but the main current of scholar ship, Protestant as well as Catholic—from Scaliger, Casaubon, Usher, Pearson, Cave, etc., down to Neander, Gieseler, Bertholdt, Olshausen, and others in our own country— has accepted the Roman tradition without hesitation. The time of his going to Rome has also been the subject of much discussion. By some, he is alleged not to have gone to Rome till the year 63, or, at all events, a short time before his martyrdom; others date his first visit as early as 42 or 43, without, however, supposing his residence after this date to have been continuous. In his first epistle, it is implied that at the time of writing it he was at Babylon; and the name Babylon is by many critics held to be employed as a mystic designation of Rome, in accordance with a practice not unusual with the Hebrews and other orientals; but there is nothing to fix very conclusively the date a this epistle. He is held by Roman Catholic writers to have fixed his see at Antioch before his coming to Rome; but of this supposed event also, the date is uncertain. His martyrdom is fixed in, with much probability, the year 66, and is supposed to have been at the same time and place with that of St. Paul. Peter was sentenced to be crucified, and. according to the tradition (preserved by Eusebius from Origen), prayed that he might be crucified with his head downwards, in order that this death might exceed in ignominy that of his divine master.