St. Peter with the Key to the Kingdom of Heaven

St. Peter with the Key to the Kingdom of Heaven

"On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven."

                     (Matt 16:18-19)

These are the words that Jesus said to Peter the fishermen, the first Pope. St Peter was martyred in Rome and buried in the necropolis beneath the Basilica.

Peter had a brother named Andrew.They were both fishermen. It was Andrew who first introduced him to Jesus Christ. Peter was born in Bethsaida, which is close to Lake Tiberias. Together with his brother he fish on Lake Genesareth. Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Christ then called Peter to become his disciple. In Luke there is a story about Peter. Peter caught an amount of fish so large that he fell down before the feet of Jesus and then was told by the Lord, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”. Jesus also gave Simon a new name: Cephas, or the rock. Becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter acknowledged him as "... the Messiah, the son of the living God”. Once the brothers retired from fishing and became disciples of Jesus, they were referred to as “fishers of men”.The name Peter means “rock”, and his story is extensively described in the New Testament.

The current statue of St. Peter was commissioned by Pope Pius the IX and was erected in 1847.Pius IX (1846-1878) replaced the old statues of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the current ones on Easter 1847. The new statues are larger than the older ones. The current Statue is 5.5 meters high.

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