The Chair of St. Peter at Antioch

>> Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 22

“Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered, and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in Heaven: and I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.”
Matt 16:15-19

Simon Bar-Jona, one of the original twelve Apostles, was chosen by Our Lord to be the leader of His Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Simon, in those days meant something to the effect of a reed blowing in the wind or wishy-washy. It was The Master Himself who changed Simon’s name to Peter, meaning Rock. It is only by the Grace of Our Lord and Master that Peter was able to be the Rock, the cornerstone, which held the weight of the Church.

According to St. Gregory the Great and many others, after St. Peter left Jerusalem he spent about 7 years as bishop of Antioch where he founded the Holy See before going to Rome. Hence there is this Feast we celebrate today and a similar Feast on January 18th commemorating the Chair of St. Peter in Rome.

The actual physical Chair of St. Peter is still preserved in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Also in this Basilica, set in stone, is the long list of every Vicar of Christ since the time of St. Peter.

Our Lord Himself gave St. Peter, and all his successors, the power of Infallibility but not impeccability. In other words, they were still sinners. Christ, as the Invisible Head of the Church, chooses a visible head of the Church and has done so, in succession, since He first visibly chose St. Peter. All those Truths which the Church has always taught and all Truths Solemnly Defined by a Holy Father or Council are Infallible.

For a long and interesting read try Catholic Encyclopedia on the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch (and at Rome)

Let us remember to pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.


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