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St. Peter’s Chair at Rome

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The Chair of Saint Peter at Rome

First Day of the Church Unity Octave

In the earlier centuries of the Church, there are records of two feasts of the Chair of St. Peter, acknowledging his authority over the Church: one feast on February 22nd, and one on January 18th. For a long time St. Peter’s Chair was celebrated only on February 22nd, but in the sixteenth century Pope Paul IV restored the ancient feast of January 18th as St. Peter’s Chair at Rome, specifically as a counter to Protestant denial of papal authority. February 22nd was maintained as the feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch, honoring the Apostle’s role as bishop of that ancient see. In the 1960 Roman Calendar, which summarily deleted many ancient feasts and commemorations in a foretaste of later liturgical changes, the two feasts were combined again on February 22nd, and the January 18th feast removed, though many places that follow the 1962 Missal still acknowledge the ancient feast with a Votive Mass of the Chair of St. Peter. Today also begins the Church Unity Octave, established in the early twentieth century, which prays for the uniting of all peoples under the authority of Christ and His Vicar on earth, the Supreme Pontiff. This octave concludes on January 25th, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 18th

THE Chair of the apostle St. Peter. This festival was instituted to commemorate the establishment of the Holy See at Rome.

In the same place, under the emperor Claudius, the passion of St. Prisca, virgin and martyr, who, after undergoing many torments, was crowned with martyrdom.

In Pontus, the birthday of the holy martyrs Moseus and Ammonius, soldiers, who were first condemned to work in the metal mines, and then cast into the fire.

In the same country, St. Athenogenes, an aged divine, who, on the point of enduring martyrdom by fire, joyfully sang a hymn, which he left in writing to his disciples.

At Tours, in France, St. Volusian, bishop, who was made captive by the Goths, and in exile gave up his soul to God.

In the same place, St. Leobardus, anchoret, a man of wonderful abstinence and humility.

In Brittany, St. Deicola, abbot, disciple of St. Columban.

At Como, St. Liberata, virgin.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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