Cephas of the Seventy and Peter


Hello everyone,
I was reading some material on Cephas, especially on 1 Cor. 15:5 and Galatians 2:9, where Cephas is mentioned. I naturally thought it was Peter, the pope, and many of us agree as seen in other threads. But then I read that another Cephas was among the 70 apostles.

  1. What elements (geographical, temporal, other) do we have to know which person is meant?

Since in the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Cephas is mentioned as having seen Jesus, before listing the Twelve, it would seem that it isn’t Peter, in this case.

The Church assumes that he isn’t and has a specific feast day for St Cephas. Some Church Fathers thought the same: they were two people.

But, Corinth being not so near to Iconium (Where Cephas was a Bishop), I find it odd that Paul would mention Cephas, bishop of Iconium to the Corinthians. Anyone has some more information on this?

  1. Since the evidence is there, at least it destrys the argument that Peter wasn’t the first of the Apostles in Galatians 2:9, where “Cephas” (supposedly Peter) is listed as seond and not first as always. :smiley:

Thank you for your help, Marco


Well Peter obviously did some things that lost him influence in the Jewish community and he left Jerusalem


Marco, first of all please can you remind me (for double checking) where it mentions a Cephas among the 70 (which could have been Simon Peter anyway).

For the rest,

  • Peter saw Him, then the Twelve in the sense of the Twelve presumably including him, so yes it was him.

  • Cephas (which is like a translation of Peter) must be a common name which is why it is often qualified with Simon. I don’t think it matters doctrinally which of the Cephases we celebrate on that day - their spirit is harmonious with each other!

  • ref the last bit of your point 1, the person mentioned in Gal 2:9 and I Cor 15:5 isn’t the bishop of Iconium.

  • This brings us to point 2, namely that the evidence that is there doesn’t destroy the line that Peter isn’t regarded as the leading apostle from the Roman point of view.

((Last minute amendment without crossing out the above: please can you retype this part of your query as I suspect we have both got our syntax in a twist?))

Now Gal 2:9 says that the three of them with the rest of the church in Jerusalem agreed to commission and send him (Paul) out on mission.

Therefore, JBBrother, I think it safe to regard Peter’s going to Rome as being similar in that those in the east sent him out by agreement and commission. Don’t forget Our Lord called him through the sheet full of creatures! Peter and Paul are both wonderful bridge people between the Jewish and Gentile elements in the churches, in their individual ways.

In regard to Marco’s last point, James was regarded as the most leading Apostle in the Jerusalem context.


I can’t offer much, but I can link you to an article that James Likoudis wrote on the topic: credo.stormloader.com/Doctrine/cephas.htm.

Apologies if this doesn’t help, or if you’ve already looked at this article, Marco.


Hi, JB!
1 Corinthians 15:5 clearly demonstrates the primacy of Cephas (Peter). While it seems that you are nitpicking with Galatians 2:9 since the verse right before it states:

…8For God, who was at work in Peter’s apostleship to the Jews, was also at work in my apostleship to the Gentiles. (Galatians 2:8)

Why would St. Paul place St. James right before Cephas in listing the three pillars of the Faith that he came to know? Who knows… but why did he not include the other Apostles in his descriptive term in verse 8? Did that mean that only Peter was to shepherd the Jews?

The fact that Cephas is singled out or placed first in Scriptures is undisputable; just as he was the “action” guy in all the discourses. If you truly want to find the truth of Peter’s primacy among the twelve just listen to Jesus’ Words, where He singles out Cephas to a) receive the Priestly Kingdom, b) support his Brethren, and c) shepherd His followers:

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (St. Matthew 16:18-19)

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (St. Luke 22:31*)

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (St. Matthew 21:15-17)

  • Interestingly enough this disclosure directly follows a discourse about primacy amongst the Disciples (St. Luke 22:24-30).

Maran atha!



The Orthodox Church has a feast day for St. Cephas of Iconium on December 8th


Also, there is a tradition (little t) held by some Fathers and particularly in St. Clement clear that Cephas may have been another person.

“Clement of Alexandria believed that “Cephas” was different from “Peter”. This information comes to us from Eusebius (Eccles Hist, 1.12.2)”



My observations in bold.


Thank you, I have read it, and this is exactly the issue. There are both opinions floating around. James Likounis thinks Cephas isn’t Peter, Michael Barber thinks he is.



Hello, thank you for your reply. I would simply point out that Peter’s primacy isn’t doubted. As I wrote, it isn’t about doctrine, but history from Scripture and tradition**(s)**

On the order of the pillars in Paul’s letter, I have read that some copies have Cephas listed first (I can’t find it again, sorry). This because of the the tradition that Cephas here is Peter.


Trouble enters in when the numerous different languages and translations occurred. Scripture mentions only one “Simon bar Jonah” (son of John), whose name Jesus changed from Simon to “Rock” “Peter” “Petros” “Petra” “Kepha” "Cephas, depending upon the translation. "If this “second Peter” were a pillar of the Church, would we not know more about him from the Gospels, or Acts? We know at least a little about the two named James, and the two named Judas as to their parentage. Yet, only Simon bar Jonah is mentioned as to his heritage. The Cephas that dined with the Hebrews when Paul “opposed him to his face” in his letter to the Galatians acted consistently with the impulsive Simon bar Jonah. I think that trying to make two prominent men out of the various references is a red herring.


Hi, Marco!
Thanks for the clarification.

I cannot recall the name Cephas applied to anyone else other than Peter in Scriptures. Though, as with “Jesus” there could certainly be other people with that name.

My views are always regarding Scriptures:

34 And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God. 35 The next day again John stood, and two of his disciples. 36 And beholding Jesus walking, he saith: Behold the Lamb of God. 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turning, and seeing them following him, saith to them: What seek you? Who said to him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith to them: Come and see. They came, and saw where he abode, and they stayed with him that day: now it was about the tenth hour. 40 And Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who had heard of John, and followed him. 41 He findeth first his brother Simon, and saith to him: We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter. (St. John 1:34-42)

In this passage we have the changing of the “guard” so to speak. John the Baptist is coming to the end of his function (St. Matthew 3:1-3) and two of his disciples meet and join the Messiah; subsequently, Andrew sought his brother Simon out and when introduced to Jesus, the Messiah, Jesus promptly (changing of the guard again) addresses him directly and changes his name from Simon to Cephas (rock/Peter).

Unless people want to believe that the Twelve were composed of several Simons whose names were changed to Cephas and were all Andrew’s brothers… well as that old movie coined: “…there can be only one.”

Maran atha!



I understand and cannot say for sure they are two. But there were some in the Church who knew about a tradition which said they were two different people and there are lists of the 70 (72?) disciples online. Among them is Cephas of Iconium.


You are right on Scriptures, and yet there are some mentions of another Cephas. That is why I am interested in this.


To po18guy and jcrichton in particular:

It is clear that Peter was adressed with different names. But there is a difference between Andrew calling Peter “Simon”, as it was his brother’s name, and Jesus calling him “Peter” as his function. I see no problem here; plus, it is two different people referring or talking to him.

what happens in Galatians 2 (even in Greek) is that :

  • it is one person referring to Peter all along, namely Paul.
  • He switches from Peter to Cephas without any apparent reason.

; 7 but on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles), 9 and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; 10 only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do.
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Peter and Cephas have the same meaning, so it is not like Jesus calling Simon by his name and then by his function/name Peter.

7 αλλα τουναντιον ιδοντες οτι πεπιστευμαι το ευαγγελιον της ακροβυστιας καθως πετρος της περιτομης 8 ο γαρ ενεργησας πετρω εις αποστολην της περιτομης ενηργησεν και εμοι εις τα εθνη 9 και γνοντες την χαριν την δοθεισαν μοι ιακωβος και κηφας και ιωαννης οι δοκουντες στυλοι ειναι δεξιας εδωκαν εμοι και βαρναβα κοινωνιας ινα ημεις εις τα εθνη αυτοι δε εις την περιτομην 10 μονον των πτωχων ινα μνημονευωμεν ο και εσπουδασα αυτο τουτο ποιησαι 11 οτε δε ηλθεν πετρος εις αντιοχειαν κατα προσωπον αυτω αντεστην οτι κατεγνωσμενος ην

As I said, it is not about translations, because the Greek reads the same, except for the last Petros. If some translations have a more homogeneous use of Peter’s name (one instead of two) then it would be an editor choice not to follow the original text where the “three pillars” are listed: James, Cephas, John.
I don’t see why Peter wouldn’t be Cephas, but then why this shift in Galatians? Why using the aramean version of the name, if he already used the greek one in the same epistle, a couple of sentences before?


Hi, Marco!

…are these the 70/72 in reference to the following passage?:

9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere…

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. (St. Luke 9:1-10-12)

From Scriptures we know that this happened; that the Twelve were sent on a mission and that subsequently an additional 72, whose names does not appear in Scriptures, were sent on that mission (make known to Israel that the Messiah had Come; that the Immanuel was indeed amongst His People and that He had Come to the Temple). Still, other than tradition, there is no mention of a secondary Cephas.

But even if we grant that there was another disciple name Cephas, we must agree that only one Simon, son of Bar-Jona and brother of Andrew, was the one of the Twelve whose name Jesus changed to Cephas and experienced what Sacred Scriptures attest he experienced as one of the Twelve who had a direct and intimate discipleship with Christ.

Maran atha!



Hi, Marco!

I think I follow you… a little; still, if we dissect this particular passage we must come to several conclusions:
a) St. Paul is indeed speaking of two distinct persons (x = Cephas one of three pillars of the Faith; y = Peter a “must be considered pillar of the Faith” because all previous Scriptures demonstrate that he is)

b) Cephas and Peter are in effect the same person as St. Paul refers to both the person he has come to know, Peter, and the representative of Christ, pillar of the Faith, Cephas

c) Cephas, an unknown person, not part of the Twelve, has been somehow elevated to a pillar of the Faith while Cephas, Simon Peter, has been demoted to an evangelizer of the circumcised

(There could be other hypothesis…)

So which of the three versions demonstrates to be the most supportive of the passage?

Maran atha!



My observations in bold


Well, remember that I don’t doubt Peter primacy. This being said:

on a) and c): knowing that Peter was in Antioch, in the passage where Paul mentions the Pillars of the Faith, he would be then talking about the Church in Jerusalem, Peter being bishop elsewhere, James having taken his place as the leader. Still, this wouldn’t make the theory of the 2 different people more credible, Because Cephas is a pillar and Cephas comes up to Jerusalem (presumably from Antioch or another place). Since there is no way to differentiate the supposedly two Cephas, It would be that Cephas is indeed Peter.

It could be that the Cephas of the Seventy was regarded as a pillar, since the text doesn’t say that James, Cephas and John were pillars, but were thought to be pillars.

9 and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised

Does this regarded as bears any weight? In the theory, I think it does, even if the whoe reasoning is based on shaky basis. :slight_smile:


I do not doubt Peter’s primacy. I merely suggest reasons why he was placed after James the brother of the Lord.

  • there could perfectly well have been the Cephas who was to be posted to Iconium among the 70;

  • to me it’s clear from New Testament context that Gal 1 and 2 keep mentioning the same Peter-Kephas namely Simon. Paul had already stayed with him and he was one of the top three in Jerusalem for commissioning colleagues and sending them out. I don’t think it odd to change the way we talk about someone in mid stream. Paul was writing a rather personal letter to the church in Galatia and not a stiff formal business one or drawing up a legal contract.

  • none of this takes away from Peter’s primacy in Rome.

  • hence we can thank God for the founding role of all the Apostles.

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