Peter was born in 406 A.D. in Imola, Italy. He converted to Catholicism as an adult, after which, he studied under Bishop Cornelius of Imola. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Cornelius.
Upon the death of the Archbishop of Ravenna in 433, Peter was sent with Bishop Cornelius to present the name of the clergy's choice for Archbishop to Pope Sixtus III for his approval. By the intercession of St. Peter the Apostle, Sixtus saw that it was the young deacon who should be made Archbishop, not the clergy's man.
Peter had to work hard to gain the acceptance of the people of Ravenna but his high standing in the eyes of Emperor Valentinian III and Pope St. Leo the Great (the succesor to Pope Sixtus) greatly increased his respectability.
Peter fought against paganism and heresy in his diocese, along with campaigning against abuse and caring for the poor. He earned the title Chrysologus, meaning "the golden word," in recognition of his fantastic sermons. One hundred seventy six of these sermons still survive today. It is in virtue of these that Pope Benedict XIII declared St. Peter Chrysologus a Doctor of the Church in 1729.
Knowing that his death was near, St. Peter retired to his hometown of Imola, where, after urging the clergy to take care in the choice of his successor, he passed away on December 2, 450. He is buried in the Church of St. Cassian.