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Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

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By Christina Hermoso

The Roman Catholic Church observes on Friday, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (Cathedra Petri), in commemoration of the teachings and authority of Saint Peter, the leader of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, as the first supreme pontiff of the Catholic faith.

(Roberto Ricci via Flickr / MANILA BULLETIN)

(Roberto Ricci via Flickr / MANILA BULLETIN)

Traditionally celebrated as a day of prayer and unity with the Holy Father, Holy Masses are traditionally held by the hour at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, concluding with the Mass of the Canons of St. Peter at the Holy See, which means “Holy Chair.”

In the country, Church officials encourage the faithful to pray the Way of the Cross and to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Celebrated in Rome since the 4th century, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter highlights the authority of the Holy Father as the bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ. When the Pope gives a dogmatic definition for the Universal Church, he is said to speak “Ex Cathedra,” or “From the Chair.”

“The observance underscores the singular mystery and mission entrusted by the Lord to St. Peter and his successors,” Church officials said.

The original chair used by St. Peter is enshrined in the apse of the St. Peter’s Basilica enclosed in a gilt bronze casing which was designed and executed from 1647 to 1653 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

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