St. Peter’s Chair at Rome
We are in that season of the ecclesiastical year, which is devoted to honouring the Incarnation and Birth of the Son of God, and the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin: it behoves us to remember, especially on this present Feast, that it is to the See of Peter that we owe the preservation of these dogmas, which are the very basis of our holy religion. Rome not only taught them to us when she sent us the saintly missioners who evangelised our country; but, moreover, when heresy attempted to throw its mists and clouds over these high Mysteries, it was Rome that secured the triumph to truth, by her sovereign decision. At Ephesus–when Nestorius was condemned, and the dogma, which he assailed, was solemnly proclaimed, that is, that the Divine Nature and the Human Nature, which are in Christ, make but one Person, and that Mary is consequently, the true Mother of God–the two hundred Fathers of that General Council thus spoke:–“Compelled by the Letters of our Most Holy Father Celestine, Bishop of the Roman Church, we have proceeded, in spite of our tears, to the condemnation of Nestorius.” At Chalcedon–where the Church had to proclaim, against Eutyches, the distinction of the two Natures in the Incarnate Word, God and Man–the six hundred and thirty Fathers, after hearing the Letter of the Roman Pontiff, gave their decision, and said: “Peter has spoken by the mouth of Leo.”
Here, then, is the privilege of Rome: to watch by Faith, over the eternal interests of mankind, as she watched previously, for long ages, and by the sword, over the temporal interests of the then known world. Let us love and reverence this City, our Mother and our Guide. Today we are called upon to celebrate her praise; let us do so with filial affection.
Sermon from St. Leo on the Feast Day of St. Peters Chair in Rome
When the twelve holy Apostles had received from the Holy Ghost the power to speak all languages, they divided the regions of the earth among themselves as fields for their Gospel labors. Then was Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, sent to the capital city of the Roman Empire, that he might make the light to shine from the head to the whole body of the civilized nations. At that time what nation was there that had no representative in Rome? What nations would be ignorant of what Rome had learned?
Here were to be refuted the theories of philosophers, here dissolved the vanities of earthly wisdom, here overthrown the worship of devils, here destroyed the impiety of every sacrilege; here, where superstitious zeal had collected all the error and vanity of the world. Therefore to this city, O most blessed Peter thou dost not fear to come, and while thy companion in glory, the Apostle Paul, is still occupied with the government of other churches, thou dost enter this forest of savage beasts, this deep and turbulent ocean, with more boldness than when thou didst walk upon the water.
Thou hadst already taught those of the circumcision who had been converted; thou hadst founded the Church of Antioch, the first that bore the noble name of Christian; thou hadst published the law of the Gospel throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; and thou didst not fear for the difficulty of thy work, nor turn back because of thine old age, but didst boldly set up the trophy of the cross of Christ upon those Roman walls, where the Providence of God had appointed the throne of thine honor, and the glorious scene of thy passion.
Liturgical Year, 1904. Dom Prosper Guéranger, abbé de Solesmes