Hermit: 8th century
+ According to legend, Peter was a soldier captured by Muslims who was freed through the intercession of Saint Simeon “the Righteous” and Saint Nicholas.
+ After making a pilgrimage to Rome, during which he was clothed with the monastic habit, he was moved by a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary to become a monk in Greece on Mount Athos. He was the first monk to live there.
+ The tradition of monastic life on Mount Athos begun by Saint Peter has continued and Mount Athos is considered one of the most sacred sites in the world.
Today more than 2,000 Orthodox monks live in nearly 30 communities on the peninsula of Mount Athos. The monks represent most of the main branches of the Orthodox Church. Access to Mount Athos is limited to a small number of male pilgrims each year; women are prohibited.
“I have chosen this mountain… and have received it from My Son and God as an inheritance, for those who wish to forsake worldly cares and strife…. Exceedingly do I love this place. I will aid those who come to dwell here and who labor for God… and keep His commandments…. I will lighten their afflictions and labors, and shall be an invincible ally for the monks, invisibly guiding and guarding them….”—The Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Peter of Mount Athos
O God, who in your kindness called your servant blessed Peter of Mount Athos to the following of Christ, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may hold fast to you with all our heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Monk)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.