Simon Peter, the leader of the apostles (also named Prince of the Apostles), was the first Bishop of Rome and the First Pope and was played a big part in spreading Christianity around the world. St. Peter He was a fisherman, married (wife unknown) and his father was named Jonah. He was an impulsive character. He was the first leader of the Early Christians for around 34 years. Jesus renamed Peter ‘the Rock or ‘Kephas’ after he recognised Christ as the true Messiah, saying: “You are my rock, and on this rock I will build my church.” Christians believe that Christ had appointed Peter with his role of leadership in the Church and believed that the community of faith built on this rock would last for a long time. Christ wanted Peter to be a special leader, like that of the Good Shepherd himself. The Bible tells us the Peter was responsible for letting people who were not originally Jews become Christian. This was significant in the growth and spread of the Church because before, other people other than Jews were prohibited to become Christians. In the Acts of the Apostles we see Peter’s leadership after Jesus ascended into heaven and gave them the mission to spread the Good News. Peter travelled around Jerusalem and Palestine, performing miracles like Jesus (healing, bringing the dead back to life, etc.); many people began to realise his leadership, and turned their faith to him. Many people became Christians because of St. Peter. He led the Early Church in Palestine and it was known that he was imprisoned by the Romans but escaped. The last we hear of Peter in the Scriptures was his presence at the Council of Jerusalem and his last visit to Antioch. He was martyred by the Roman Emperor Nero – he did not believe himself worthy enough to die in the same way as Jesus, so Peter wanted to be crucified upside down. His remains are buried on the Vatican hill, where St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome stands today.