Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome

I woke up wondering if Peter ever made it to Rome. St. Paul did for sure but Peter was the Rock upon which the Catholic Church supposedly was built.
He is regarded as the first Pope and yes Peter after establishing the church at Antioch indeed went to Rome in the second year of Claudius. Wikipedia goes on to say that it is claimed he overthrew Simon Magus, and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He was said to be put to death by Nero.
When Jesus first met Peter, Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida. As Jesus healed his mother in law, this depicts Peter as married or a widower. His brother, Andrew, was another of the first disciples of Jesus. Peter was said to be at the Transfiguration of Jesus. Paul affirmed that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews as Paul was apostle to the Gentiles. Peter participated in the walking on water and washing of feet in the Last Supper. At the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemaine, Peter was said to be the swordsman who lopped off the ear of Malchus only to have Jesus heal the ear. Most important Peter, 'denied Jesus three times' as Jesus had prophesied. When Jesus was resurrected Peter is first to enter the empty tomb and later Paul says that resurrected Jesus first appeared to Peter. Peter three times affirms his love of Jesus balancing the three denials. Subsequently Peter taught the sermon at Pentecost. He was arraigned before the Sanhedrin twice and arrested by King Herod only to be rescued from prison. Peter embraced Gentile converts and opposed the circumcision of these, though it is James, brother of Jesus who really was most outspoken against genital mutilation.
Epistle first and second Peter are ascribed to Peter and the reference to Babylon is considered code for Rome. According to Catholic tradition Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as bishop there, authored two epistles and been martyred there. Origen says that Peter was crucified with his head downwards. Apparently Nero wished to blame the disastrous fire of Rome at this time on the Christians. The Basilica of St. Peter is said to be built with the burial place of St. Peter directly beneath it's high altar. Quo vadis, Domine? is a phrase attributed to Peter speaking to a vision of Jesus before St. Peter is martyred.

Mathew 16: 17-20
"I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

The Pope wears a 'fisherman's ring', bearing an image of the saint casting a net from a fishing boat. The keys used as a symbol of the Pope's authority refer to the 'keys to the kingdom of Heaven."

It was Emperor Constantine who decided to honor Peter with a large basilica.

In the division between Protestants and Catholics regarding Peter, Lutheran theologians note:

"We honor Peter and in fact some of our churches are named after him. But he was not the first pope, nor was he Roman Catholic. If you read his first letter, you will see that he did not teach a Roman hierarchy, but that all Christians are royal priests. The same keys given to Peter in Mathew 16 are given to the whole church in Mathew 18" Protestant theologian Cullman concluded that while Peter was the original head of the apostles, Peter was not the founder of any visible church succession. The Eastern Orthodox Church regarded Apostle Peter together with Apostle Paul, as "Preeminent Apostles."

"Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." This statement of Jesus is the center of controversy with the question being whether 'rock' referred to the person of Peter or Peter's expression of faith.

"You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church."

June 29 is the assigned feast day for both St. Paul and St. Peter.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: