Since the fourth century the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle has been celebrated at Rome as a sign of the unity of the Church founded upon that apostle. This is an image of Pope St. Peter sitting on the throne from the Jubilee Year of 1950. Although the artwork of the item is crude, the plastic container embedded into the statue has a little case of dirt from his tomb. The container has the symbol of the papacy on it, the cross keys and tiara.
The statue is a replica of the one in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Notice the extended foot of the saint has been reverenced so many times it has literally been rubbed smooth.
The featured image is the statue of St. Peter in the Basilica, and it is dressed on his feast day.
We have President’s Day in the United States, which was established in 1885 to honor President George Washington’s birthday. Officially it is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February, giving our federal government a three day weekend. However his actual birth is on the 22nd of February, which I find interesting, because that day is a national holiday in another country: Vatican City State. What President’s Day is to the United States, February 22nd is to the Vatican.
It might as well be called “Pope’s Day,” but it isn’t. The Church celebrates the feast day, “The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle,” every February 22nd, honoring the authority of the office of Pope.
And, like in the US for President’s Day, all official Vatican offices are closed and on holiday on this date.
Because of my long fascination with the history of the papacy, for years this has been my favorite liturgical feast day. And for the Catholic Church it is a pretty high ranking feast, as it is one of the few times that even during Lent the commemoration takes precedence over the season: liturgically speaking, the Chair of St. Peter feast day would not be Lent.
So I hope you all enjoy a great Pope’s Day!
I know I will. –Father Richard Kunst