The Apostle st. Peter

Jul 11, 2020

Peter was from Bethsaida, and he was a fisherman.  Our Lord chose him on the second day following that whereon He was baptized, and He chose Andrew his brother before him.  And having chosen Saint Peter, He made him chief of the apostles, and he continued to minister to our Redeemer until the time of His death and Passion.  He had fervent faith, and strong zeal, and love for God.

When the Lord asked disciples; “who do men say that I am?” so they answered, “some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” . . .  Simon Peter answered and said, “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  (Mat. 16;13-20) Thereupon our Lord proclaimed him blessed, and He made him the Rock of the Church, and gave him the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.  After he received the grace of the Holy Spirit Paraclete, he went in among the rational wolves of this world, and preached among them in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was crucified, and he converted a countless number of the people, and brought them into the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; and God wrought great and innumerable signs and wonders by his hands. 

And he wrote two Epistles and sent them to the believers, and he spoke to Mark and translated for him the Gospel, which is known as his.  Then he came into the city of Rome, and he went up into the great theatre wherein all the nobles were gathered together, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed are the merciful, for one shall have mercy on them,” and what followeth (Matthew 5).  And when the four stone pillars, which formed the four corners of the tribune, heard his words, they said “Amen”; and the multitudes heard this voice. 

And moreover, Saint Peter saw a great and honorable similitude of the Lady of us all, Mary, the Pure, the God-bearer.  He saw a cloud, which was like unto a bow, and in the cloud, which appeared upon it a tabernacle of light, and in the innermost part thereof sat, in the flesh, our holy Lady, the two-fold Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord in the flesh.  And angels surrounded her, having swords and spears of fire in their hands, and they said, “O blessed woman, thou art the vineyard, the beautiful one wherefrom grew the grapes of salvation. Blessed art thou, O Upper Chamber, for thou didst carry in thy womb the Lamb of God, and the Lord of lords.  Rejoice, O Mother of light, Mother of mercy.  Rejoice, O Throne of salvation, on whom sat the God of gods.  Rejoice, O Lady of all men.”  And when the angels had finished saluting her, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared, and spoke with her, and none knew what He said unto her except Mary; and straightway there was an earthquake.

 And Peter also saw mysteries, which are ineffable.  And after this our Lord commanded Peter to preach in all the cities, and he preached the preaching of the Holy Gospel.  And he went to the seacoast and came to the city of Emmaus, and Leda (Lydda).  And one day whilst he was praying in the city of Iyope (Joppa) a cloud of light enveloped him, and there came down a sheet, which was spread out, from heaven to earth, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed creatures, and all kinds of birds, and the similitude of swine.  And a voice cried to him from heaven, saying, “Arise, Peter kill and eat.”  And he said unto Him, “O my Lord, I cannot kill and eat what is unclean.”  And again a voice called him, saying, “What God hath cleansed let not man hold to be unclean”; and he heard this voice three times.  And each time the voice called him, a finger made a sign to him and pointed to the beast, which was like unto a pig.  And that sheet went up and was withdrawn into heaven, and he marveled at what he had seen and he understood that [it signified] the reception of the Gentiles who were to turn to God, and he told the holy Apostles his brethren this.

And then Saint Peter came with Saint John to the city of Antioch, as our Lord Jesus Christ had commanded them; and Peter sent John on to the gates of the city, so that he might learn the affairs of the city, and he asked concerning the report of Antioch.  And he found outside the city certain evil men, who spoke words of insult to him and wanted to kill him.  And he returned weeping and angry, and said unto Saint Peter, “If these common folk are as bad as this, what shall we do before the kings of this city, and the nobles thereof?  Even if we come into it and preach in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, how shall we teach the Faith?”  And Peter said unto him, “O my beloved, be not dismayed by the words of these men, and be not sorrowful, for He Who hath brought us from Jerusalem hither in one night, that is to say a journey of twenty days on horses, will prosper our work.”  And after that they came into the city, and preached in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the men of the city and the priests of the idols gathered together and beat them severely, and treated them with ignominy, and made a mock of them, and cut off one half of the hair of their heads, and tied them up in a tower and shut the doors on them; and they prayed to God to help them.  And our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was surrounded with the Cherubim and the Seraphim, appeared unto them, and said unto them, “O Peter and John, fear ye not and be not sorrowful, for I will be with you to the end of the world.  And marvel not because they have shaved the centre of your heads to make sport of you, for this shall be unto you a sign of which to boast, and for hair of honor.  And it shall be a sign of priesthood to every man who shall follow you in the Church, and who shall offer My Body, even as ye do now.  To the priest who dieth with this crown upon his head I will give remission of sins”; and having said this to them He went up into heaven with [great] glory.  Then by the commandment of God, Saint Paul arrived, and the saints met and talked together.  And when he saw Saint John he said unto them, “What have the men of this city done to thee?” And Saint John said unto him, “Marvel not at me, for the chief of the Apostles also [hath] this symbol.”  And Saint Paul went to the city of Antioch, and held converse with the men as he wished, and he pretended that he would worship the idols; and he released the saints and took them away.  And he asked them about their work, and he told them that he also was a disciple of our Lord Christ.  And they worked miracles there, and they opened the eyes of those who had been blind from their mother’s wombs.  And they also made to live the king’s son who had been dead for three months, and whose body had decayed and become corruption; and the king and his wife held converse with Saint Peter and believed. And Saint Peter smote the ground and water flowed forth, and he baptized the king and all the men of Antioch in the Name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and they built a church there.  And after this the believing men who were in Laodicea sent to him [a messenger to say] that the river Kisaros had drowned many men, and flooded their villages, and their flocks; and Peter and Paul sent him to Saint John, the beloved.  And as the saint was going along the road, he found a sheep which had become separated from its flock, and he sent it on, saying, “Go to the river Kisaros, and say unto it, ‘The disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ hath sent me to thee, and he telleth thee to become fettered by the word of God.”  And the sheep went and did as the saint commanded it, and the river became quiet (i.e. subsided).  And when the infidels saw this miracle a countless multitude of them believed. 

And then he passed on to the city of Rome, and he preached therein and performed many signs and wonders, and he conquered Simon, the magician, who had resisted him, and he cast him down from his rule over the souls of men.  And at this miracle many men believed, and the concubines of ‘Akrepos, the legate of the city, believed through him, and preserved [their] purity, and many women withdrew from their husbands.  And because of this the people took counsel to kill him, and the wife of Altabius, a friend of the king, sent a message to Saint Peter advising him to go forth from the city of Rome, and the believing brethren likewise told him to do this, and he went forth from the city alone, and he disguised himself so that no one might know him.  And he found our Lord coming into the city in the form in which he had first known Him, and he bowed low before Him, and said unto Him, “Whither goest thou, [my] Lord?”  And He said unto him, “To Rome, that I may be crucified.”  And Saint Peter said unto Him, “Lord, wilt Thou be crucified a second time?”  And Saint Peter remembered that He had said unto him, “When thou art grown up, another shall gird thee and take thee whither thou wouldst not go.”  And straightway he returned to the city, and told the brethren everything, which had taken place between our Lord Christ [and himself], and they were very sad.  And when the Emperor Nero heard the report of him, he seized him and commanded the soldiers to crucify him.  And Peter begged and entreated that they would crucify him head downwards, saying, “My Lord Jesus Christ was crucified standing upright, and it is meet for me to be crucified head downwards.”  And when they crucified him he spoke unto the believers the word of life, and he strengthened them in the True Faith, and after this he delivered up his soul into the hand of God.

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