As we discussed in out last post, the destruction of Jerusalem saw the fleeing of the people from Israel to different parts of the known world. Those who fled included the apostles.
St. Peter went as far as Rome!
When he got to Rome, there were already some Jews who were Christians having fled to Rome at the beginning of the Revolt. When they saw Peter, they recognized him as Peterus, the rock. They all have been taught that Peter is the head of the heads of the Church.
At this Time, The Emperor of Rome Nero hated Christians because they counter nearly everything Roman. They do not join in the worship of Roman gods. So he kept seeking for ways to destroy them.
When a fire broke out in Rome, (some of the traces of this fire are preserved in today’s Rome), Nero called his Army officers and told them it was the Christians that started this huge fire threatening the whole city.
Some military people, who later converted to Catholicism, told the story of how Nero himself started the fire just to prove that he is a god. He said that he will start a huge fire and them he will simply sing and the fire will be stopped. When the fire started, he sang, the fire burned on he then accused Christians!
Nero sent killer squads to punish Christians. Many were killed by bows and arrows and a majority was brought to the arena and was eaten by tigers and lions to entertain Romans. This was the start on nearly 300 years of Christian persecution and killings throughout the Roman Empire.
It was during this persecution that the army noticed that Peter is the head of Christians so the thought that when they kill him publicly, his death will demoralize the Christians making them lose their faith.
So, Peter was brought to the arena, before a huge crowd, with the emperor present, they wanted to crucify him just like Christ! But Peter begged that he should be crucified upside down so that he will not die in the manner of Christ. They killers agreed and Peter was crucified upside down. His body was left to rot in the sun but Christians took his body to a place called Vatican Hills and buried him there without the authorities knowing about this.
After the death of peter, the elders elected another man called Linus, who has been accompanying Peter in his preaching duties, as the new head.