February 22, 2011

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter
photo by Sergey Smirnov

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22) honors Saint Peter as the first Bishop of Rome/Pope of the Church.  It is mostly a symbolic feast - celebrating the fact that Peter accepted the chair (or cathedra) of Rome. 

An Actual Chair?
Intriguingly, there is an actual chair in Rome, believed by some to have been used by Peter.  It is now encased in a highly decorated ornamental covering (from the Renaissance/Baroque era) and is situated in a smaller altar (Altar of the Chair) behind the main altar  at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. 

And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
-Matthew 16:18   



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