“Peter had a great name, for he was called Simon Barjona. And Simon is as much to say as right obedient or committing great heaviness. Barjona is as much to say as son of a dove, or of a culvert He was obedient when our Lord called him, for at the voice of one only calling, he obeyed to our Lord. He was committing heaviness and sorrow when he rented [separated himself from] Jesu Christ, for he went out and wept bitterly.
He was son of the dove, for he served God with simple intention. Secondly, he was called Cephas which is as much to say as chief, or stone, or blaming with the mouth. He was said chief by reason of the principality in prelation; a stone by reason of his steadfastness in his passion; blaming with his mouth by reason of constancy in his preaching. Thirdly, he was called Peter, which is as much to say as knowing or unhosing [taking off one’s pants], and shoeing or unbinding knowing, for he knew the dignity of Christ when he said: Thou art Christ, son of the living God. In unhosing and shoeing, when he unshod his feet from the affection of all deadly and earthly work, saying: Lo! we have left all things, etc. Unbinding, for he hath unbounden the bonds of sin, and that was by the keys that he received of our Lord.
And he had three surnames. He was said Simon Johanna, which is as much to say as the beauty of our Lord. Secondly, he was said Simon Johannis, that is to say, to whom it is given. And thirdly, he is said Barjona, that is to say, son of the dove, by which is given to under- stand that he had beauty of manners, gift of virtues, and abundance of tears, for the dove hath wailing for her song. This name Peter, Jesus promised to put to him: Johannis primo Thou shalt be called Cephas, that is to say, Peter. Secondly, he did that he promised, as it is said, Mathei quarto: And he named Simon Peter, etc. Thirdly, he confirmed it, Mathei XVI: And I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this stone, etc. His martyrdom wrote Marcellus, Linus pope, Hegesippus, and Leo the pope.
St. Peter the apostle among all other, and above all other, was of most fervent and burning love, for he would have known the traitor that should betray our Lord Jesu Christ, as St. Austin saith: If he had known him he would have torn him with his teeth, and therefore our Lord would not name him to him, for as Chrysostom saith: If he had named him, Peter had arisen and all to-torn him.
Peter went upon the sea; he was chosen of God to be at his transfiguration, and raised a maid from death to life; he found the stater or piece of money in the fish’s mouth; he received of our Lord the keys of the kingdom of heaven; he took the charge to feed the sheep of Jesu Christ. He converted at a Whitsuntide three thousand men, he healed Claude with John, and then converted five thousand men; he said to Ananias and Saphira their death before; he healed Æneas of the palsy; he raised Tabitha; he baptized Cornelia; with the shadow of his body he healed sick men; he was put in prison by Herod, but by the angel of our Lord he was delivered.
What his meat was and his clothing, the book of St. Clement witnesseth, for he said: Bread only with olives, and seldom with worts, is mine usage, and I have such clothing as thou seest, a coat and a mantle, and when I have that, I demand no more.
It is said for certain that he bare always a sudary [handkerchief] in his bosom with which he wiped the tears that ran from his eyes; for when he remembered the sweet presence of our Lord, for the great love that he had to him he might not forbear weeping. And also when he remembered that he had rented [separated himself from] him, he wept abundantly great plenty of tears, in such wise that he was so accustomed to weep that his face was burnt with tears as it seemed, like as Clement saith. And saith also that in the night when he heard the cock crow he would weep customably. And after that it is read in Historia Ecclesiastica that, when St. Peter’s wife was led to her passion, he had great joy and called her by her proper name, and said to her: My wife, remember thee of our Lord.
On a time when St. Peter had sent two of his disciples for to preach the faith of Jesu Christ, and when they had gone twenty days’ journey, one of them died, and that other then returned to St. Peter and told him what had happened, some say that it was St. Marcial that so died, and some say it was St. Maternus, and others say that it was St. Frank. Then St. Peter gave to him his staff and commanded that he should return to his fellow, and lay it upon him, which he so did, then he which had been forty days dead, anon arose all living.”
— from The Golden Legend or Lives Of The Saints
Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275
Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483