February 22 is the Feast Day of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome. Here are some facts on the real, physical chair which is located inside the Vatican.
The Gospel of Matthew states at 23:2-3 that, “The scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not.”
This references the chair from the Old Testament, but what it has in common with St. Peter’s chair is that both chairs have magisterial authority. You could think of it as spiritual authority. Or, more specifically, the magisterium refers to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church assisted by the Holy Spirit.
The chair is supposed to remind us of the throne of Jesus Christ our king
St. Peter, being our first Pope and therefore the first Vicar of Christ, appropriately has this chair. Isaiah 22:22-23 says, “And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father.”
A poem from the 3rd century
Translated from the Latin into English, it is written, “On this chair whereupon Peter himself sat, the great Rome placed Linus and commanded him to sit.” In case you’re wondering, Linus is a saint and also the second pope as St. Peter’s successor. Scholars agree that he is the Linus which Paul writes about in 2 Tim. 4:21.
Physical dimensions aren’t overwhelming
In approximate feet and inches, the chair is 2’9 wide, the sides are 2’1.5 deep, 4’7 high. People were a little smaller back then.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke of it’s authenticity
He said, “This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors.”
Latin phrases refer to it
If this article whets your appetite to research more on the topic, you’ll start to come across “Cathedra Petri.” That’s just Latin for “Chair of Peter.”
Encouragement for the life’s adventures
Referring to the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI said, “From this seat, as a teacher and pastor, he will guide the journey of the faithful in faith, hope and charity.”