Saint Peter’s Chair at Rome
Saint Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, the latter pursued him to Rome. But he who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor servant girl now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world and the center of impiety called for the zeal of the Prince of the Apostles. God had established the Roman Empire and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, to facilitate the propagation of His Gospel; and its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. Saint Peter took that province upon himself and, repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his ecclesiastical chair.
That Saint Peter preached in Rome, founded the Church there, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are incontestable facts, by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived around that time — persons of unquestionable veracity, who could not but be informed of the truth in a matter so important, and of its own nature so public and notorious. This fact is verified by monuments of every kind, attesting the prerogatives, rights and privileges which that church enjoyed from these early times, in consequence of its title as seat of the Vicar of Christ.
It was an ancient custom observed by churches to keep an annual festival commemorating the consecration of their bishops, and the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter is found in ancient martyrologies. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the center of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for His mercies to His Church, and to implore His future blessings for it.
Reflection. As one of God’s greatest mercies to His Church, let us earnestly beg Him to raise up in it zealous pastors, directed by His Spirit, with which He animated His Apostles.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).