In John 21:18–19 (RSVCE) we hear Jesus telling Peter:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Neither the Acts of the Apostles nor the Epistles give an account of how and at what age Peter died. If the words of Jesus to Peter are to be taken as a prophecy, the latter must have died at a ripe age.

My question therefore is: what account does the Catholic Church give on the death of Peter the Apostle, with specific reference to the age at which he died?

3 Answers 3


The Catholic Church does not know with any exactitude the real timeline of the Apostle Peter. So much of this question is simply based on tradition.

For the most part, it is believed that the Apostle St. Peter was born in Bethsaida (John 1:42, 44), about the year 1 AD.

St. Peter's true and original name was Simon, sometimes occurring in the form Symeon. (Acts 15:14; 2 Peter 1:1). He was the son of Jona (Johannes) and was born in Bethsaida (John 1:42, 44), a town on Lake Genesareth, the position of which cannot be established with certainty, although it is usually sought at the northern end of the lake. The Apostle Andrew was his brother, and the Apostle Philip came from the same town. - St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles

As for how and when the Apostle St. Peter died, it is traditionally believed that he died between 64 and 67 AD and was crucified upside down at Rome. That makes St. Peter between 63 and 66 years old when he died. Historical documents are not more sure of anything more exact. One can read what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say on this subject. Some even claim he died in 55 AD.

Here is a traditional way of reading about St. Peter's death.

Saints Peter and his older brother Andrew. Both were crucified as old men. Peter was, of course, our first pope, Christ’s Vicar, the head of the visible Church. Andrew was the first called by Christ to be an apostle. He was a disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Andrew was there when John pointed at Jesus on the banks of the River Jordan and said: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew followed Christ after His holy baptism and innocently asked Him where He lived. Jesus innocently answered: “Come and see”. Saint Andrew preached the Faith in Asia Minor (Turkey) and in Scythia, east of Turkey (north of Iran). He also preached in Greece and Macedonia. He was crucified in Achaia at Patras in the year 61. Tied to an X-shaped cross after being scourged, he made the cross his pulpit and preached to the people for two days before he died. Peter was martyred under the Nero persecution in the year 67. Peter, too, was, as His Master, crucified by nails on Vatican hill. His wish to be crucified upside down, out of reverence for Jesus, and out of his profound humility, was granted. Saint Paul, the Apostle, was beheaded on the same day as Peter outside the walls of Rome. - How Did the Apostles Die?

Other Catholic websites will state that he died in the year 64 AD.

  • thank you for the references. I found the "How did the Apostles Die" link fascinating.
    – Adam
    Jun 12, 2021 at 1:02

One of the earliest traditions about Peter is from Hippolytus of Rome who wrote about 220 CE, which was about 150 years after Peter's death. Hippolytus had some clashes with Popes of the Roman Church of the time, so it is not as if he was somehow blindly trying to bolster their claims to the Papacy.

  1. Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.v.ii.html

Nero's reign ended in June 68. The Great Fire of Rome took place in 64. After the fire, persecution against Christians arose. So, many place Peter's death somewhere after 64, but before Nero's death in 68. A best guess places his death at mid year 66.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolytus_of_Rome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Rome


In his epistle St Peter says he is "old". We don't know exactly what "old" was at that time. Jesus also told St Peter he would be tied and his arms extended when he was "old". The way Jesus talks to St Peter indicates that Peter might have been younger than Jesus. Just like the "brothers" of Jesus talk to him clearly indicating they were older and "wiser" than Jesus. So according to this, Peter might have been around 60 when he died and considered himself "old" at that age at around 66 AD. Big question mark here! We can conclude that after 60 people at the time of Jesus were considered old and younger than 40 were considered still young.

  • Welcome to the site Carmelo. I hope you will stick around. People in Jesus’ time were considered old at 50 yers old! Nevertheless a good response, although linked sources would greatly improve your answer.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 11, 2021 at 16:59
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    Jun 11, 2021 at 19:35

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