Was Saint Peter Crucified Upside Down? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/05/23 •  6 min read

Saint Peter is one of the most famous saints in Christianity. According to tradition, he was crucified-upside down. But many people have wondered if this story is true.

In this blog post, we will explore the evidence for and against Saint Peter’s upside-down crucifixion. We will also answer the question once and for all! Stay tuned.

Who Was Saint Peter?

Was Saint Peter Crucified Upside Down

Saint Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus Christ himself to spread his word throughout the world.

He was born in Bethsaida, in the region of Galilee, and was a fisherman by trade. He was given the name Simon but was later named Peter by Jesus.

It is said that Peter was the first Apostle to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and he quickly became one of his most devoted followers.

After Jesus was crucified, Peter continued to preach his message, eventually traveling to Rome where he established the first Christian church.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, Peter was the first bishop of Rome. He is typically represented holding a key or a set of keys, symbolizing his role as the “keeper of the gates of heaven.”

The Eastern Orthodox Church also recognizes that Peter had a certain primacy among the Twelve Apostles but they do not believe that he had authority over the entire Church.

Related Read: What is A Saint in Christianity?

What Led to Saint Peter’s Crucifixion?

Saint Peter's Crucifixion

Saint Peter was crucified during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor Nero. After the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, Nero scapegoated the Christians and began a wave of persecution against them.

Who Was Emperor Nero?

Nero was Rome’s 5th emperor and the last of Rome’s first dynasty, the Julio-Claudians. He was born in 37 AD, the son of a wealthy Roman senator named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, who was related to Rome’s first emperor, Augustus.

Nero became emperor at the age of 16 after his mother persuaded Rome’s ruling class to appoint him emperor following the death of his stepfather, Claudius.

He ruled for 14 years until he was forced to leave and committed suicide in 68 AD after a series of military and political disasters.

During his reign, Nero persecuted Rome’s Christians, culminating in the Martyrdom of Peter in 67 AD.

Why did Emperor Nero Persecuted Christians?

Nero didn’t have a particular reason to persecute Christians. He wanted to blame the fire on someone and Christians were an easy target since they were a small and unpopular religious minority.

Nero may have also seen Christians as a political threat since their beliefs were in direct opposition to the traditional Roman religion.

Even if Rome was a polytheistic society that tolerated different religions, Christianity was seen as a direct challenge to the emperor’s authority since Christians believed in one God who was above all earthly rulers.

Was Peter Actually Crucified Upside Down?

Peter crucifixion

The evidence for Saint Peter’s crucifixion upside down is mostly based on tradition. There is no mention of it in the Bible, and the earliest historical record of it comes from the apocryphal Acts of Peter, written in the 2nd or 3rd century AD.

That said, some scholars believe that Saint Peter was crucified on an upside-down cross.

Peter requested to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Peter’s request shows humility and demonstrates his great devotion to Jesus Christ.

However, other scholars believe that the story of Saint Peter’s crucifixion upside down is a legend. There is no concrete evidence to support it, and it may have originated as a way to make Saint Peter’s martyrdom more miraculous.

What we do know for sure is that Saint Peter was a real person and that he was crucified by the Romans during the persecution of Christians. He is a revered saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and his feast day is celebrated on June 29th.

Read Also: Why Did Peter Denied Christ?

Biblical Verses About Peter’s Death.

Biblical Verses About Peter

The only mention of Saint Peter’s death in the Bible is in John’s Gospel 21:18-19, where Jesus tells Peter that he will die a martyr’s death.

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

John 21:18-19

If we analyze the Bible verses about Peter’s death, we can see that Jesus is predicting Peter’s martyrdom. He says that Peter will die a “violent” death, and he will be led where he does not want to go.

By saying “you will stretch out your hands,” Jesus is likely referring to the fact that Peter will be crucified.

When Jesus says that someone else will lead Peter where he doesn’t want to go, he is probably referring to the fact that Peter will be arrested and led to his execution by the Romans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Was Saint Peter Crucified Upside Down  - FAQs

Was Paul Crucified Upside Down?

There is no evidence that Paul was crucified upside down. The Apostle that was traditionally believed to be crucified upside down was Peter. Paul was also killed during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor Nero, but he was beheaded instead of crucified.

Both Paul and Peter were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Is An Inverted Cross the Same Thing as an Upside Down Cross?

An inverted cross (or the cross of Saint Peter) is a Christian cross that is upside down. It is often seen as a symbol of the martyrdom of Saint Peter, who was crucified upside down.

The inverted cross is sometimes confused with the Satanic symbol of the upside-down cross, but they are not the same thing. The Satanic upside-down cross is a symbol of rebellion against Christianity and is not used by Christians.

The upside-down nature of the inverted cross is not meant to be a sign of disrespect but rather a sign of humility and devotion. Peter served Jesus Christ faithfully until his death, and the inverted cross is a reminder of that.

Final Thoughts

Saint Peter was an important figure in the early days of Christianity and his crucifixion is still debated by historians.

We have answered the question of whether or not Saint Peter was crucified upside down, but there are still many questions about his life and death that remain to be explored.

Thanks for following along on our journey through the history of one of Christianity’s most important figures!


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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