World Sign
Vol. 108: Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
During my journey to Israel, my impression that many of the life stories of Jesus inscribed in the Bible are based on facts was reinforced. Wherever Jesus went, churches were built to tell the vestige.

One of these churches, the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu, was particularly impressive. A golden rooster features proudly at the top of the sanctuary roof, which has given the church its name (Gallicantu - From Latin: Gallus - cock; Cantu - crow, i.e., "cock's crow").

After the last supper, when Jesus said “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice,” Peter replied “I will not deny thee in any wise." However, as Jesus prophesied, he broke his promise.

In his famous composition Matthaus-Passion, Johann Sebastian Bach eloquently expresses the wavering feeling of Peter, whose lamentations are vividly captured in a passionate aria. It is truly an expression of human weakness and the scene that strikes me the hardest, right at my heart. While at the church, I could not help pondering over the aria in my mind.

The location where the church is built used to be the residence of a high priest and the place where Jesus was whipped on the eve of the day he was put to death. The interior of the church is bathed in golden light that filters in through stained glass windows and filled with a deep-felt benevolence, almost as if it were meant to console Peter’s grief. Peter, who was originally nothing but a fisher, is said to have been so ashamed of himself that he requested to be crucified upside down so that he would not die in the same manner as Jesus, his Lord, when he was later sentenced to death.

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