Friday, February 22, 2008
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
Pietro Perugino. Christ giving of the keys to Saint Peter. 1492. Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
This had been a double feast, 18 January and 22 February. The chair (cathedra) is symbolic of the office of bishop. These two dates are, both, associated with Peter and his office. Christ built his church on Peter. Peter or Cephas, Simon Bar-Jona was the first bishop of Antioch (35-42) and later Rome (42-67). The latter day, which is to-day, has been linked to Peter at Antioch and the other date, with Peter at Rome. Some believe, that to-day is, the anniversary of, that day when this conversation occurred:
13 And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is?
14 But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock* I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.†
20 Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.
Now, some Anglicans and Lutherans have re-christened the earlier date as the Confession of Peter, to change and deny the theological significance. Some have played games of translation tricks and switches to deny the obvious. When Jesus spoke to his apostles and disciples, he spoke in the vernacular, i.e. Aramaic.‡
*Peter = rock, Petros in Greek
† The scriptural and theological authority of the papal magesterium and papal infallibility given Peter by Christ. Peter, and his successors, are Christ's vicar on earth.
‡ And he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter. — John i. 42.
et adduxit eum ad Jesum intuitus autem eum Jesus dixit tu es Simon filius Johanna tu vocaberis Cephas quod interpretatur Petrus
Paul refers to Peter as Cephas, four times, in the Epistles.