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Saint of the Day for 22 February: Chair of St. Peter the Apostle

Chair of St. Peter the Apostle: Meaning, History and Celebration in the Catholic Church


Chair of St. Peter the Apostle


Handover of keys


22 February


2004 edition



Glorious Apostle Peter, we turn to you with the assurance that we will be understood and heard. You who called by the Lord, generously followed him and, becoming his disciple, first among all, proclaimed him the Son of God. You who experienced friendship, witnessed his anguish and his glory. You who, though you denied him, were able to discern in his gaze the forgiving love. Ask for us from your Master and Lord the grace of faithful following. And, if by certain acts of ours, we too should deny Christ, grant that, like you, we may allow ourselves to be looked upon by him and, repentant, may we begin again the path of fidelity and friendship that we will conclude, together with you, in heaven beside Christ our Lord. Amen.

Roman Martyrology

The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle in Antioch, where disciples were first called Christians.


The Saint and Mission

The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle is not only a physical object of deep veneration in the Catholic Church, but also a symbol rich in spiritual and theological meaning, reflecting the Church’s ongoing mission in the world. This “cathedra,” or seat, represents much more than Peter’s leadership among the apostles; symbolizes the authority of the apostolic teaching and the continuity of the mission that Christ entrusted to Peter and his successors, the popes. The intrinsic mission of the Chair of Saint Peter is rooted in Jesus’ invitation to Peter to “feed my sheep”, thus establishing a foundation for the pastoral service and leadership of the Christian community through the ages. This symbol of apostolic unity and authority is central to understanding the Pope’s role as servant of God’s servants, one who holds the responsibility to keep the Church faithful to the teachings of Christ and to guide it through the challenges of the times. The celebration of the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, therefore, is not only a moment to remember the historical figure of Peter, but also to reflect on the nature of the Church as a community which, despite its human imperfections, is called to bear witness to the Gospel. It is an opportunity to renew our commitment to the evangelizing mission, remembering that, beyond structures and hierarchies, the Church is founded on the rock of faith in Christ, the true shepherd and guide. Furthermore, the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle invites us to meditate on our personal call to mission in everyday life. As members of the body of Christ, we are all called to actively participate in the life and mission of the Church, contributing our unique gifts to the great work of evangelization and service. It reminds us that every Christian has a role to play in spreading the Gospel’s message of hope and salvation, inspired by the example of Peter and supported by the spiritual guidance of the Pope. The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle is much more than a symbol of authority ; it is a living reminder of the perpetual call to the mission that Christ has entrusted to his Church. It reminds us that, through the storms of history, the Church is called to remain firmly anchored to the truth of the Gospel, faithfully guiding the people of God towards the encounter with their Lord and Savior.

The Saint and Mercy

The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle, in addition to being a symbol of authority and unity in the Catholic Church, also represents a profound symbol of mercy. This link between the chair and mercy finds its roots in the very essence of the Petrine ministry, as Christ conceived it: a service that is at the same time guidance, teaching and manifestation of God’s merciful love towards humanity. The mission entrusted to Peter, and consequently to all his successors, is not simply that of governing, but of shepherding the flock of Christ with love, patience and, above all, with mercy. The figure of Peter himself, with his weaknesses, his errors and his restoration after the denial of Christ, is a living testimony to the infinite mercy of God. The chair, therefore, not only symbolizes the power to bind and loose conferred on Peter, but also the duty to exercise this power through the lens of mercy, welcoming sinners, encouraging repentance and facilitating the path of reconciliation with God. In this sense, the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle becomes a constant reminder for the Church of reflect the merciful love of the Father in his daily work. It reminds the faithful and their pastors that the mission of the Church in the world is not to condemn, but to offer an open door to grace, supporting every soul in its journey back to God. The celebration of the chair, therefore, is not just a act of recognition of apostolic authority, but also a moment to renew the Church’s commitment to living and preaching the Gospel of mercy. The mercy associated with the Chair of St. Peter also invites us to reflect on our personal commitment to live according to the spirit of the Gospel, welcoming with love and understanding those we encounter on our path, and offering the gift of forgiveness where it is needed. In this way, the chair becomes not only a symbol of guidance, but also a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards an increasingly inclusive and merciful Church, which faithfully reflects God’s unconditional love for every one of his creatures. The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle reminds us that at the heart of the Church’s mission is the call to be instruments of divine mercy, bearing witness through words and actions to God’s infinite ability to forgive, heal and renew.


You are Peter, and to you I will give the keys of the kingdom

*From the Gospel according to Matthew

At that time Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi and asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or any of the prophets.” He said to them, “But you, who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”….


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