Saint Peter (died AD 64/67), also known as Simon Peter, was an early Christian leader, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ according to the New Testament and Christian tradition, and the very first Bishop. Peter is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and is venerated as a Saint and Pope by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy. The son of John[Jn. 1:42] or of Jonah or Jona, he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was also an apostle. Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the Catholic Church's first pope. He is credited with establishing the church in Antioch and presiding for seven years as the leader of that city's Christian community. Either in person or via epistle, his words reached Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia where they were received by scattered communities of believers: Jews, Hebrew Christians and Gentiles. Peter then went to Rome where in the second year of Emperor Claudius Germanicus, it is claimed, he overthrew the sorcererSimon Magus, was later freed by his Guardian Angel from prison, and held the Cathedral Chair for 25 years.
By Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, also according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the time of Constantine. Construction of the present basilica, replacing the Old St. Peter's Basilica of the 4th century, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.