|Ss. Peter and Paul sharing a rather unlikely embrace|
"Dearly beloved brethren, in the joy of all the holy Feast-days the whole world is partaker. There is but one love of God, and whatsoever is solemnly called to memory, if it hath been done for the salvation of all, must needs be worth the honour of a joyful memorial at the hands of all. Nevertheless, this feast which we are keeping to-day, besides that world-wide worship which it doth of right get throughout all the earth, doth deserve from this city of ours an outburst of gladness altogether special and our own. In this place it was that the two chiefest of the Apostles did so right gloriously finish their race. And upon this day whereon they lifted up that their last testimony, let it be in this place that the memory thereof receiveth the chiefest of jubilant celebrations. O Rome these twain are the men who brought the light of the Gospel of Christ to shine upon thee These are they by whom thou, from being the teacher of lies, wast turned into a learner of the truth.
"These twain be thy fathers, these be in good sooth thy shepherds, these twain be they who laid for thee, as touching the kingdom of heaven, better and happier foundations, than did they that first planned thine earthly ramparts, wherefrom he that gave thee thy name took occasion to pollute thee with a brother's blood. These are they who have set on thine head this thy glorious crown, that thou art become an holy nation, a chosen people, a city both Priestly and Kingly, whom the Sacred Throne of blessed Peter hath exalted till thou art become the Lady of the world, unto whom the world-wide love for God hath conceded a broader lordship than is the possession of any mere earthly empire. Thou wast once waxen great by victories, until thy power was spread haughtily over land and sea, but thy power was narrower then which the toils of war had won for thee, than that thou now hast which hath been laid at thy feet by the peace of Christ.
"It well suited for the doing of the work which God had decreed that the multitude of kingdoms should be bound together under one rule, and that so the universal preaching of the Gospel should find easier entry into all peoples, since all were governed by the empire of one city. But this city, knowing not Him, Who had been pleased to make her great, used her lordship over almost all nations to make herself the minister of all their falsehoods and seemed to herself exceeding godly because there was no false god whom she rejected. But the tighter that Satan had bound her, the more wondrous was the work of Christ in setting her free." (Second nocturn of Mattins, from the festive sermon of St. Leo the Great)