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Saint Peter

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Saint Peter, as painted by El Greco; he holds a leather cord from which two keys hang down
Saint Peter, as painted by El Greco; he holds a leather cord from which two keys hang down

Patron of fishermen and of locksmiths, St. Peter is invoked against fever and is called on for longevity. Saint Peter's original name was Simon; Jesus Christ, upon first meeting him, said "Thou art Simon the son of Jonah; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter" (which means "a rock"). In time, Peter would be named first among the apostles and become "the rock" upon which Christ would build his church. His main feast day is June 29.

When Jesus walked on the water, it was Peter He called to come to Him across the lake. Peter was with Jesus for the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the transfiguration, and the dark night of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. After Jesus was seized by the Romans and taken to his trial under Pontius Pilate, it was Peter who denied knowing him three times before the cock crowed, an event symbolized in images of Jesus as the Just Judge. Peter became the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, was eventually crucified by the Romans, on an inverted cross.

Because Saint Peter is often depicted holding a pair of keys (representing the keys to the kingdom of Heaven), images of Saint Peter are used by the faithful in prayers for protection from theft, removal of obstacles, road opening, court cases, probation and parole pleadings, and entrance into Heaven after death. When the keys are depicted as forming an X-cross, they may be seen and utilized by hoodoo practitioners as a form of portable crossroads. In addition to the keys, Saint Peter's hagiographic symbols include an inverted cross, a boat, and a crowing rooster.

In the African Diasporic religion religion of Voodoo, which has been syncretized with Catholic practices, including the veneration of Catholic Church saints, Saint Peter is associated with the lwa Papa Legba. In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria or LukumĂ­, Saint Peter is associated with the orisha Ogun.

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