Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feast of the Chair of St Peter (Feb 22)

Today's feast combines what were, until 1960, two separate feasts, namely of St Peter as bishop of Antioch, and St Peter as bishop of Rome.

The readings at Matins for today's feast are as follows:

Reading 1: Lesson from the first letter of St Peter the Apostle: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect. According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you, Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

Reading 2: Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: That the trial of your faith much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now, though you see him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified; Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Reading 3: (Sermon of St Leo): For when the twelve Apostles, after receiving through the Holy Ghost the power of speaking with all tongues, had distributed the world into parts among themselves, and undertaken to instruct it in the Gospel, the most blessed Peter, chief of the Apostolic band, was appointed to the citadel of the Roman empire, that the light of Truth which was being displayed for the salvation of all the nations, might spread itself more effectively throughout the body of the world from the head itself. You had already taught the people, who from the number of the circumcised had believed: you had already founded the Church at Antioch, where first the dignity of the Christian name arose: you had already instructed Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, in the laws of the Gospel-message: and, without doubt as to the success of the work, with full knowledge of the short span of your life carried the trophy of Christ's cross into the citadel of Rome, whither by the Divine fore-ordaining there accompanied you the honour of great power and the glory of much suffering.


John Wickstrom said...

Thanks so much for providing Matins readings for this feast. That brings me to more general questions: the former feast for today, St. Peter's Chair at Antioch, is not in my pre-1960 Breviarium Monasticum. I assume the Benedictine Office did not observe it before the new sanctorale, reformed following on the Vatican Council. The MD does, of course, have proper texts for the day hours, so I am assuming that these texts were added to conform with the new sanctorale. But my fundamental question is this: when the use of the pre-VAtican Mass and Office was permitted, it appears that the old temporale was also restored (Thus the Septuagesima season we are now within, for instance) but apparently not the old sanctorale. If this is the case, do you know why?
Again, my deepest thanks for giving us this wonderful site.
John W.

Kate Edwards said...

Thanks John.

In terms of the sanctorale, yes, it too was restored so those who follow the EF Mass calendar use the calendar as it appeared in 1962, and the Benedictine Calendar I use in the Ordo is the 1963 Benedictine equivalent. So Septuagint reappears in both, as do some of the older feasts.

However both these (early 1960s) calendars were themselves the product of reformers 'simplifying' the calendar and cutting out assorted feasts, and there were a series of earlier plays at this through the twentieth century I believe, so the 1962/3 calendars won't always align with earlier twentieth century versions.

I'm not entirely sure of the history of these feasts in the twentieth century, and the reasons for the changes, but while my 1935 antiphonale monasticum doesn't have the 18 January feast (only Feb 22), my 1893 breviary has both the feasts of the Chair of St Peter in Rome on January 18, and Antioch on Feb 22.

The Wikipidia offers the following:

"Early martyrologies indicate that two liturgical feasts were celebrated in Rome, centuries before the time of Charles the Bald, in honour of earlier chairs associated with Saint Peter, one of which was kept in the baptismal chapel of Saint Peter's Basilica, the other at the catacomb of Priscilla. The dates of these celebrations were January 18 and February 22... Though both feasts were originally associated with Saint Peter's stay in Rome, the ninth-century form of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated the January 18 feast with his stay in Rome, and the February 22 feast with his stay at Antioch. The two feasts were included in the Tridentine Calendar with the rank of Double, which Pope Clement VIII raised in 1604 to the newly invented rank of Greater Double.

In 1960 Pope John XXIII removed from the General Roman Calendar the January 18 feast of the Chair of Peter, along with seven other feast days that were second feasts of a single saint or mystery. The February 22 celebration became a Second-Class Feast. This calendar was incorporated in the 1962 Roman Missal...In the new classification introduced in 1969 the February 22 celebration appears in the Roman Calendar with the rank of Feast."

There is more on the history of the feasts in the old Catholic Encyclopedia here: