Peter was a disciple of Jesus and the first Pope. He was from a town called Bethsaida on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. He made his living as a fisherman and was one of the first people to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
Peter's original name was Simon, but Jesus gave him the name Peter, meaning rock. Jesus claimed that Peter would be the rock on which he built his church. At one point, Peter was married. The gospels mention that Jesus healed his mother-in-law. His father was named Jonah, and his brother Andrew was also one of the disciples.
In the New Testament, when Jesus is arrested in the hours before his crucifixion, Peter denies knowing him three times. Jesus even predicts this, saying that Peter would deny him before the cock crows in the morning. Though Peter assures Jesus that he'd never deny him, he is so frightened by the oncoming events that he denies Jesus anyway. The Gospels place Peter at somewhat different places when he made these denials. He is also believed to be the disciple who cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest who had come to arrest Jesus.
After Jesus' resurrection, Peter traveled afar to preach to the Gentiles. He ended in Rome, where he was martyred by crucifixion. According to tradition, he asked to be crucified upside down.