at prayer

St. Peter
St Peter
Feast Day 29 June: Andratx, Buger, Colónia de Sant Pere, Escorca, Esporles, Puerto de Pollença see also St Paul

Martyred 64 or 67 AD

Foremost among the Disciples and the first Pope, almost everything we know about him is to be found in the New Testament. According to tradition, he died a martyr’s death and was crucified upside down.

His death is forecast in John 21, known to some scholars as the Appendix to the Gospel of John, based on their belief that it was added at a later date, possibly to explain the death of Peter. Perhaps this event had been unknown to the writer or was one that he did not consider of significance. Perhaps it was to underline the importance of Peter as the founder of the Christian Church and to counteract a potential rival in “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. (The last two verses of this chapter are considered to be an even later addition and are known as the Appendix to the Appendix!)

A further curiosity in this Chapter is the story of the catch of 153 fish, also in John 21 A mysterious stranger asks the Apostles for fish and when they tell him they have caught none, he tells them to lower the net on the other side of the boat. They recognise Him as Jesus and when Peter empties the net, which is now full, there are 153 fishes in it.

Scholars have been arguing ever since over the precision of the number with theories ranging from a Greek belief that there were only 153 fish in the sea (although they were fishing in a lake), through the number of Hail Marys in the Rosary to a mathematical ratio known since the time of Pythagoras as 153:265 and, throughout the Greek world as the measure of the fish.

See also: vesica piscis