Monday, February 22, 1999
First Reading: 1 Peter 5: 1-4
Psalms: Psalm 23: 1-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16: 13-19
FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF SAINT PETER
This feast, designated for February 22, commemorates the first service in Rome by the first Pope in Rome - Saint Peter who established the see of Antioch. He is said to have sat on a portable chair that ultimately became the "chair of Peter" and which is a liturgical emphasis on the apostolic succession, the episcopacy within Holy Mother Church and the unbroken line of pontiffs since Peter. The chair is preserved in the Vatican with evidence of this being the authentic chair dating back to the second century. It was officially made a feast day in the Roman Calendar in 394 to coincide with the day the Romans commemorated their deceased. It was first celebrated at the old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome during the middle of the fifth century, preceded by an all night vigil with the Holy Father present. In the eighth century the Franks moved the feast to January 21 while the rest of Europe virtually ignored the feast altogether. However, at the beginning of the eleventh century it was revived and observed on February 22 where it has been fixed ever since.