The Chair of Peter

Monday, February 22, 2016

 The Chair of Peter

“This feast commemorates Christ’s choosing Peter to sit in his place as the servant-authority of the whole Church

The Pentecost event completed Peter’s experience of the risen Christ. “...[T]hey were all filled with the holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4a) and began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them.

Only then can Peter fulfill the task Jesus had given him: “... [Once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). He at once becomes the spokesman for the Twelve about their experience of the Holy Spirit—before the civil authorities who wished to quash their preaching, before the council of Jerusalem, for the community in the problem of Ananias and Sapphira. He is the first to preach the Good News to the Gentiles.”

When Peter left Jerusalem, he set up his “chair” in Antioch (in Syria). About seven years later, in 42 AD he set up his “chair” in Rome at the home of St. Prudens, a senator and his mother, St. Priscilla. He reigned there for 25 years until he was crucified for the faith in 67 AD.

In ancient Rome, February was a month in which people remembered their beloved dead.   At a feast in their memory , they displayed an empty chair representing their loved one.  It seems like the Christians did this in memory of Peter. Not knowing the exact date of his death they chose February  22 for this.  The word cathedral, in Greek and Latin means chair or seat and it became used as the throne or the place of Church Authority.    

This also happens to be the birthday of George Washington (1732)
These two men: Peter and George,  were extraordinary leaders.
One was chosen by Jesus to lead his Church.
The other was chosen unanimously by his community to lead a new form of government.
In our day and age, the Church and the democracy continue.
Let's pray for leaders today who will carry on the
tradition of the founders.

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