St. Peter’s Chair at Rome, January 18th
From a Sermon by St. Leo the Pope
When the twelve holy Apostles had received from the Holy Ghost the power to speak all languages, they divided the whole world into districts, which they severally allotted to themselves as fields for their Gospel labours. Then was Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, sent to the capital city of the Roman Empire, that he might cause the light to shine thence throughout the whole body of the civilized nations. At that time what race was there that had none of their folk dwelling in Rome? Or, when Rome had learnt, what people that did not learn?
In Rome were many dreams of an unbelieving philosophy awaiting to be destroyed. In Rome were many empty utterances o f earthly wisdom awaiting to be confuted. In Rome was much idolatry awaiting to be overcome. In Rome was great profanities awaiting to be put down. For here in this city the activity of superstition had gathered together from the whole earth every error which it could find. O most blessed Apostle Peter! This was the city to which thou didst not shrink to come. The Apostle Paul, thy comrade in glory, was yet occupied in founding the churches, and thou didst enter alone into that forest of wild beasts roaring furiously ;thou didst commit thyself to that stormy ocean, more boldly that when thou didst walk upon the waters to come to Jesus.
Thou, O Peter, hadst already taught those of the Circumcision who had turned to Christ. Thou hadst founded the Church of Antioch, the first Church that bore the noble name of Christian. Thou hadst published the law of the Gospel throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. And thou didst not fear the hardness of thy work, nor turn back because of thine old age, but didst boldly set up the trophy of the Cross of Christ upon these Roman walls, where the providence of God had appointed the throne of thine honour, and the glorious scene of thy passion.
O God, who through the preaching of thy blessed Apostle Saint Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine forth upon the Gentiles : grant, we beseech thee, that we, who this day call him to remembrance, may feel the effectual benefit of his intercession, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.