Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume III/Lives of Illustrious Men/Jerome/Simon Peter

Chapter I.

Simon Peter[1] the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion[2]—the believers in circumcision,[3] in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia—pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus,[4] and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. He wrote two epistles which are called Catholic, the second of which, on account of its difference from the first in style, is considered by many not to be by him. Then too the Gospel according to Mark, who was his disciple and interpreter, is ascribed to him. On the other hand, the books, of which one is entitled his Acts, another his Gospel, a third his Preaching, a fourth his Revelation, a fifth his “Judgment” are rejected as apocryphal.[5]

Buried at Rome in the Vatican near the triumphal way he is venerated by the whole world.[6]


  1. Died 65–6 or 67.
  2. Dispersion. The technical “Dispersion”—the Jews out of Judea. Cf. Peter 1. 1. See Westcott in Smith’s Dict. of Bible.
  3. Circumcision a paraphrase for “Hebrews” in Eusebius and Rufinus.
  4. Simon Magus. That Peter met Simon Magus in Rome is a post-apostolic legend. Compare the Clementine literature.
  5. Apocryphal. For literature on apocryphal works see Ante-Nic. Fath. ed. Coxe (N. Y. Chr. Lit. Co.,) vol. 9 pp. 95 sq. The Acts, Gospel, Preaching and Revelation are mentioned by Eusebius. The Judgment was added by Jerome. This last has been much discussed of late in connection with the recently discovered Teaching of the Twelve. The identification of the Teaching with the Judgment is credited to Dr. von Gebhardt (Salmon in Smith and Wace Dict. v. 4 (1887) pp. 810–11). The recent literature of it is immense. Compare Schaff, Oldest Church Manual, and literature in Ante-Nic. Fath. vol. 9 pp. 83–86.
  6. The textual variations on the chapter are numerous enough but none of them are sustained by the better mss. e.g. “First Simon Peter” “Simon Peter the Apostle” “Peter the Apostle”“Called canonical”“are considered apocryphal”“the whole city.”