Peter was the son of Jonah and the brother of Andrew, the First-Called. He was of the Tribe of Simeon from the town of Bethsaida. He was a fisherman and, at first, was called Simon but the Lord was pleased to call him Cephas or Peter: “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah: you shall be called Cephas,’ which is by interpretation, a rock.” (John 1:42) He was the first of the disciples to clearly express faith in the Lord Jesus saying: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). His love for the Lord was great and his faith in the Lord gradually strengthened. When the Lord was brought to trial, Peter denied Him three times but after only one glance into the face of the Lord, Peter’s soul was filled with shame and repentance.
After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Peter appears as a fearless and powerful preacher of the Gospel. Following one of his sermons in Jerusalem, three thousand souls converted to the Faith. He preached the Gospel throughout Palestine and Asia Minor, throughout Illyria and Italy. Peter worked many powerful miracles; he healed the sick, resurrected the dead; the sick were healed even from his shadow. He had a great struggle with Simon the Magician who proclaimed himself as god but in reality Simon was a servant of Satan. Finally, Peter shamed and defeated him. By order of the evil Emperor Nero, Simon’s friend, Peter was condemned to death. Installing Linus as Bishop of Rome, counseling and comforting the flock of Christ, Peter proceeded joyfully to his death. Seeing the cross before him, he begged his executioners to crucify him upside down for he considered himself unworthy to die as did his Lord. Thus the great servant of the Great Lord reposed and received the wreath of eternal glory.
—From The Prologue from Ohrid by Saint Nikolaj Velimirović.
The Holy Apostle Peter’s feast day is celebrated with Saint Paul on June 29.