Keys of St. Peter

The image at right represents the Keys of St. Peter, an emblem of the Catholic Church which represents the divine authority invested in the apostle Peter before the death of Christ. As such, they are emblems of papal authority in the Catholic church.

A symbol that appears frequently in Christian art and in the arms of the Popes, the crossed keys were formerly an emblem of the Roman God Janus and the Mithraic Zurvan, both gods of time and keepers of doorways, and removers of obstacles.

It is this symbolism that led to the folk legend of Peter as the bureaucratic keeper of the “pearly gates”of heaven.

St. Peter receiving the Keys

Zurvan with the “Keys of Time”

The keys as an emblem of Papal authority

Related Symbols:



Pier Tulip May 9, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Congratulations for the correct association of keys of Peter to Zurvan, which, being the deity of the time of Roman Mithraism, was named Aion (or Eon).
The keys can also have the meaning that the Mithraic religion is tight and initiatory so who will be initiated will find the keys to open the gate of heaven (see Peter) last rung of the Mithraic ladder.

Jennifer May 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

Thank you, Pier. Your book looks fascinating, I will check it out!

Darlene August 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm

It’s not really a comment, I have more of a question, and that is WHO HOLDS THE
KEY OF ST PETER, and also where can I find the information, about delegation of
authority under the VATICAN.



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