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What was St. Peter’s name before Jesus changed it?


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Philip Kosloski - published on 06/29/22

St. Peter was called Simon, or Simeon, a very common name in the Bible and in ancient Israel.

In the Gospels, Jesus give a new name to the head of the apostles. Jesus calls him “Peter,” changing it from “Simon.”

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter, or “rock”).

John 1:42

In the Gospel of Matthew, Simon’s father is called “Jonah.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.”

Matthew 16:17

According to the website, Behind the Name, “From Σίμων (Simon), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim’on) meaning ‘he has heard.’ This name is spelled Simeon, based on Greek Συμεών, in many translations of the Old Testament, where it is borne by the second son of Jacob.”

When Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, it was highly symbolic and referred to Simon’s new role as a foundational rock for the Church.

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