Catholic - Assumptionist Order
"Then seizing him [Jesus], they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest [Caiaphas]. Peter followed at a distance. . . .A servant girl . . . said, 'This man was with him.' But he denied it. 'Woman, I don't know him,' he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, 'You also are one of them.' 'Man, I am not!' Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, 'Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.' Peter replied, 'Man, I don't know what you're talking about!'
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly."
Few structures combine the ancient with the new as
successfully as the dazzling Church of St. Peter on the
eastern slopes of Mount Zion. Erected in 1931 to commemorate
Peter's triple rejection of Jesus and his subsequent remorse,
the church is an amazing blend of contemporary lines,
primitive art, and antiquity. All have been brilliantly fused
together to create a superbly designed masterpiece which make
it far more than an ordinary house of worship.
Saint Peter's is an amazing blend of contemporary art and antiquity.
The extraordinary church interior is a giant, multi-colored mosaic portraying New Testament figures. Most of the colors are joyous and lively; they also fade into one another and offer subtle gradients of each shade. Perhaps the most striking feature of this unusual church is the ceiling. It is dominated by a huge cross-shaped window designed in a radiant variety of colors.
In other Jerusalem sanctuaries I have seen the Via Dolorosa depicted by either bas reliefs, small sculptures, or paintings. Here the 14 Stations are marked only with a simple cross. The mosaic illustrations, too, are less sophisticated than those in many other churches. Set within the ultra modern lines of the chapel, they look intriguingly ancient.
Three nearly life-size mosaic pictures cover the back and two side walls of the church. Facing the entrance is an illustration of a bound Jesus being questioned at Caiaphas' palace; on the right Jesus and the disciples are shown dining at the Last Supper. In the left mosaic Peter, considered the first Pope, is pictured in ancient papal dress.
Although in the beginning Peter sometimes argued with Jesus, after the Crucifixion he became the foremost apostle and greatest miracle worker of the Christian Church. One of the venues in which he preached was Rome. In the year 64, homicidal Emperor Nero played his fiddle while the city of Rome burned to a crisp before his very eyes. At the time there was talk that the mad emperor had started the fire and, perhaps to divert suspicion from himself, Nero blamed the Christians. Peter was martyred during the persecutions that followed. According to tradition, Peter asked to be crucified upside down so that he would not die in the same manner as Jesus.
Beneath the upper church is an unusually light and airy glass-enclosed chapel which incorporates stone from ancient grottos inside its walls. Visitors can look down a hole in the center of the sanctuary to see caves that may have been part of the Byzantine shrine. Their walls are engraved with crosses left there by fifth-century Christians.
On an even lower level there is easy access to a succession of caves from the Second Temple period. And finally, you exit into an excavated yard which includes a stone trail probably dating back to that same era. Many Christians believe that Jesus followed this path down to Gethsemane on Holy Thursday night.
Visiting hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30-12:00; 14:00-17:00 (Sunday