Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
While the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, celebrated on June 29, focuses on the martyrdom of St. Peter, this celebration draws attention to his role in the Church. The “Chair of St. Peter” is an image of his seat of authority—an authority that was given not for his own personal gain but so that he could be a source of unity for the Church. Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Lk 22:32). Today, this feast reminds us of the significance of the ministry of St. Peter and the succession of popes who followed in his footsteps.
Homily by Pope Benedict: 2011
"Dear Brothers and Sisters! The Latin liturgy celebrates today the feast of the Chair of Peter. It is a very ancient tradition, witnessed in Rome since the end of the fourth century, which renders thanksgiving to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his successors. "Cathedra" literally means the established seat of the bishop, located in the mother church of a diocese, which for this reason is called "cathedral," and it is the symbol of the authority of the bishop and, in particular, of his "magisterium," that is, of the evangelical teaching that he, insofar as a successor of the apostles, is called to guard and transmit to the Christian community.
When the bishop takes possession of the local Church that is entrusted to him, he, bearing the miter and the shepherd's crosier, sits on the cathedra. From that seat he will guide, as teacher and shepherd, the journey of the faithful in faith, hope and charity. To celebrate the "Chair" of Peter, as we do today, means, therefore, to attribute to it a strong spiritual significance and to recognize in it a privileged sign of the love of God, good and eternal Shepherd, who wants to gather the whole of his Church and guide her along the way of salvation..... Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the apse of St. Peter's Basilica, as you know, is found the monument to the Chair of the Apostle, a mature work of Bernini, made in the shape of a great bronze throne, supported by the statues of four Doctors of the Church, two from the West, St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, and two from the East, St. John Chrysostom and St. Athanasius.