Thursday, February 21, 2013

St Peter in Antioch: A Celebration of Bishops and Priests

Tomorrow is the Feast of St Peter's Chair in Antioch. Here are the readings from matins, taken from St Augustine's 16th sermon on the saints.
The solemn Feast of to-day received from our forefathers the name of that of St Peter's Chair at Antioch, because there is a tradition that it was on this day that Peter, first of the Apostles, was enthroned in a Bishop's Chair. Rightly, therefore, do the Churches observe the first day of that Chair, the right to which the Apostle received for the salvation of the Churches from the Lord of the Churches Himself, with the words Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.
It was the Lord Himself Who called Peter the foundation of the Church, and therefore it is right that the Church should reverence this foundation whereon her mighty structure riseth. Justly is it written in the Psalm which we have just heard Let them exalt him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. Blessed be God, Who hath commanded that the Blessed Apostle Peter should be exalted in the congregation! Worthy to be honoured by the Church is that foundation from which her goodly towers rise, pointing to heaven!
In the honour which is this day paid to the inauguration of the first Bishop's throne, an honour is paid to the office of all Bishops. The Churches testify one to another, that, the greater the Church's dignity, the greater the reverence due to her priests. While I confess how rightly godly custom hath exalted this Feast in the estimation of all the Churches, the more do I wonder at the growth of that unhealthy error which at this day causeth some unbelievers to lay food and wine upon the graves of the dead, as if souls once rid of the body had any longer any need of bodily refreshment.

I would also like to draw attention to an interesting church in Antioch called the "Cave Church of St. Peter," which locals say dates to the time of the Apostle himself. The facade was added latter by crusaders. A virtual tour is available.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rad Trad,

    A fellow Rorate reader here; I was hoping to contact you but cannot find an email link or anything. Could you please shoot me an email at

    Steven Alvey