Saint Peter  

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"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven."--Matthew 16:19

"One knocking at the door of paradise, Saint Peter looked out, and asked, Who's there ?' He that knocked answered, I am Pope Innocent the Tenth.' 'Unlock the door, and come in,' said St. Peter. I have not the keys about me,' quoth the other."--Pasquil against Pope Innocent X (17th century)

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Saint Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He is buried at the St. Peter's Basilica.

Popular culture

Over the years "St. Peter" has evolved into a stock character that is now widely used in jokes, cartoons, comedies, dramas, and plays. Such caricatures almost all play upon Peter's role as the "keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven" in Matthew 16:19, on the basis of which he is often depicted as an elderly, bearded man who sits at the pearly gates that serve as heaven's main entrance, often portrayed as a sort of hotel-style doorman / bouncer who personally interviews prospective entrants into Heaven, often seated behind a desk, or standing at a lectern. He usually has a big book in which the names of the saved are written.

In traditional Medieval iconography, Peter is a bald man with a long beard. He usually has one or more large keys in his hand or hanging from his belt.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Saint Peter" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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