Was Peter ooit in Rome?

Painting of the Crucifixion of Saint Peter by CaravaggioSome deny that Saint Peter was ever in Rome because the Bible does not record his activity there.

Yet Peter himself indicates his presence in Rome in Scripture in the concluding words of his Eerste Brief, gezegde, "Zij die in Babylon, die eveneens gekozen, stuurt je de groeten; en dat doet mijn zoon Mark " (5:13).

“Babylon” was commonly used by the Christians in the first century as a code name for Rome–zien, bijvoorbeeld, de Boek Openbaring, 14:8; 16:19.

De Muratorian Fragment (ca. 170) explains that Peter’s martyrdom was omitted from the Handelingen van de Apostelen because Saint Luke chose only to record events which he had witnessed personally. Luke’s omission of Peter’s activity in Rome, daarom, likely means only that he and Peter happened not to be in the city at the same time.

Peter likely came to Rome around the year 42 A.D. and died there in about 67, but this does not mean he remained there during the intervening 25-year period.

It’s far more likely that, having established Rome as the home base for his missionary journeys, he set out from the capital fairly frequentlyeven for years at a time.1

While Peter is not mentioned in the epistles from Paul’s Roman imprisonment either, there is an allusion to him in Paul’s Brief aan de Romeinen, composed a few years earlier. In that letter, Paul reveals that he has been hesitant to come to Rome to preach “where Christ has already been named, opdat ik bouwen op basis van een andere man " (15:20).

The “other man,” who preached the Gospel in Rome before Paul, must be Peter. Since Jesus commanded the Apostles to “make disciples of all nations” (zien Matthew 28:19). Dus, it is reasonable to expect that at least one of the Twelve had gone to Rome, the place where all nations met, and it seems only fitting that the first Apostle in Rome was Peter, the vicarious shepherd of Christ’s flock (John 21:15-17).

Painting of Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way by Annibale Carracci

Eigenlijk, Peter had sown the seeds of Roman Christianity during his Pentecost sermon as the universal crowd that he addressed that day contained visitors from Rome (Handelingen van de Apostelen, 2:10).

These first converts would eventually blossom into the Church of Rome, though they would require the Apostle’s guidance in order to be formed into a unified community.2

The historical evidence for Peter’s presence in Rome, contained in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, is unanimous and overwhelming.

Writing from Rome, only a few decades after the fact, Paus Saint Clement, who had known both Peter and Paul, referred to their heroic martyrdoms (zien Brief van Clemens aan de Korintiërs 5:1-7). Hetzelfde, Heilige Ignatius van Antiochië (c. 107 N.Chr.) said to the Roman faithful, “Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you. They were Apostles, and I am a convict” (from the Letter of Ignatius to the Romans, 4:3).

Rond het jaar 130, Saint Papias verified that Saint Mark had worked as Peter’s assistant in Rome (see Peter’s Eerste Brief 5:13) en dat Mark’s Gospel developed from his records of the Apostle’s preaching there (zien Uitleg van de uitspraken van de Heer; Eusebius, Geschiedenis van de kerk 3:39:15 and see also Irenaeus, Ketterijen 3:1:1).3

Painting of Saint Peter Consecrates Saint Lawrence as Deacon by Fra AngelicoBovendien, in ongeveer 170, Dionysius, the Bishop of Corinth, wrote to Pope Saint Soter, “You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time” (Letter to Soter of Rome 2:25:8).

Heilige Irenaeus van Lyon (c. 185) referred to Peter’s activity in Rome with absolute certainty, calling the Church of Romethe greatest and most ancient Church known to all, opgericht en georganiseerd te Rome door de twee meest glorieuze Apostelen, Peter en Paul” (Tegen Ketterijen, 3:3:2).

Towards the end of the second century, Saint Clement of Alexandria confirmed that Mark had served as Peter’s secretary in Rome (zien Fragment; Eusebius, Geschiedenis 6:14:6).

At the turn of the century, Tertullian noted that Clement had been ordained in Rome by Peter himself (zien The Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2). A few years later, Hij schreef, “Let us see what … the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the Gospel and even sealed it with their blood” (tegen Marcion 4:5:1).

Around the same time, a Roman presbyter named Caius verified that Peter was buried on Vatican hill. "Ik kan wijzen op de trofeeën van de apostelen," hij zei. “For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way [where Peter and Paul are buried respectively], zult u de trofeeën van degenen die deze kerk "gesticht vinden (Dispuut met Proclus; Eusebius, Geschiedenis 2:25:7). Saint Hippolytus van Rome (d. 235) schreef, “Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downwards, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner” (On the Twelve Apostles 1).

The traditional account of Peter’s crucifixion and burial (and presence in Rome) was confirmed in 1968 when his bones were rediscovered in a first-century grave located directly beneath the main altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Apostle’s bones were found remarkably intact except that the feet were missing, suggesting the soldiers may have removed the corpse from the cross by cutting off the feet, corroborating the ancient tradition that Peter was crucified upside down.4

  1. cf. Warren H. Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. 1 (Front Royal, Virginia: Christendom Press), p. 420.
  2. In The Tragedy of Calvary, Henry Bolo, cited in The Official Legion of Mary Handbook, goes a step further, observing, “The Church of the future, which must be called the Roman Church, began in a mysterious manner around Calvary the function which she was destined to fulfil in the world. The Romans it was who offered up the Victim and elevated it in the sight of the multitude. These future guardians of the unity of the Church would refuse to tear the tunic of Jesus. These depositories of the faith would be the first to write and to uphold the principal dogma of the new faith—the royalty of the Nazarene. They would smite their heart at the moment when the sacrifice would be consummated saying: ‘Truly this was the Son of God.’ Lastly, with the same spear which would open up to the Gospel all the highways of the universe, they would open the Sacred Heart of the Master, from whence flow streams of benediction and of the supernatural life. Since all humanity is guilty of the of the Redeemer, since all have steeped their hands in his , and since therefore the future Church could not be represented but by culprits, does it not seem as though the Romans, as early as the time of Calvary, were, though unconsciously, inaugurating, substantiating, their immortal destiny? The cross had been fixed in such a position that the back of Jesus was turned upon Jerusalem, while his face was to the west, towards the Eternal City” (Dublin: Concilium Legionis Mariae, 1993, pp. 339-340).
  3. Tertullianus, a century later, would go so far as to say, "(The Gospel) issued by Mark may be affirmed to be Peter’s, whose interpreter Mark was” (tegen Marcion 4:5:3).
  4. Carroll, vol. 1, p. 445, n. 143; the author referenced John E. Walsh, The Bones of St. Peter (Garden City, New York, 1982), pp. 164-165.