Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The feast of the Chair of Peter

Get this. I've been to Rome, but didn't bother with the Vatican. We drove past and it looked busy so we didn't go in.
 Sometimes I find myself fascinating, but in a "huh?" way rather than a "wow!" way.
Next time I won't be so silly.
Anyway, because of this gap in my cultural education, I've never seen the Vatican and it's treasures up close, so I Googled images of the Chair of Peter and this one seems to come up quite alot.

Um, pardon my ignorance, but is that a  chair?

Then there's this one:

Which does look more chair like, but not especially majestic.So which one is it?
I don't suppose it matters since after all, the feast day isn't  celebrating a chair as such, but rather the authority that the chair represents. Rather like the seat of Moses.
Which I also Googled:

Clearly comfort wasn't high on the agenda. 
I went on another Google wander and fell down Alice in Wonderlands rabbit hole, as I am wont to do when I go Googling late at night. But I did find some interesting articles, such as this one by Steve Ray, who quotes St Cyrian of Carthage:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He
says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this
rock I will build my Church, and the gates
of hell will not overcome it. And to you I
will give the keys of the kingdom of
heaven: and whatever things you bind on
earth shall be bound also in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth, they shall be
loosed also in heaven.’ And again He says
to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my
sheep.’ On him He builds the Church, and
to him He gives the command to feed the
sheep; and although He assigns a like
power to all the Apostles, yet He founded
a single chair, and He established by His
own authority a source and an intrinsic
reason for that unity. Indeed, the others
were that also which Peter was; but a
primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is
made clear that there is but one Church
and one chair. So too, all are shepherds,
and the flock is shown to be one, fed by
all the Apostles in single-minded accord.
If someone does not hold fast to this unity
of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds
the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter
upon whom the Church was built, can he
still be confident that he is in the
Church?” (Cyprian of Carthage, 251)

Steve Ray also explains that highly ornate "chair" at the top of this post.

The chair of St Peter stands in St Peters Basilica in Rome, which I most certainly will visit next time I'm in the area!

Matthew 16:18

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

1 comment:

  1. Oh you must see the Vatican. It is absolutely gorgeous, and more than that, remarkable. I spent a day and it wasn't nearly enough. I really need to go back now that I've oriented myself with it. And i would love to attend mass once there. Wikipedia has a great entry on the Vatican that can probably answer most of your questions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter's_Basilica