Feast of the Chair of St Peter/Cathedra Petri– 22 February – The Chair is the cathedra of St Peter’s Basilica. Cathedra is Latin for “chair” or “throne” and denominates the chair or seat of a bishop, hence “cathedral” denominates the Bishop’s church in an episcopal see. The Popes formerly used the Chair. It is distinct from the Papal Cathedra in St John Lateran Archbasilica, also in Rome, which is the actual cathedral church of the Pope, because the Cathedra he currently and officially sits upon is in its apse.
When the pope cautions world leaders, pleads for peace, or condemns social injustice, people listen and respond. What makes the world listen to this man? The answer lies in Scripture and in Tradition. Peter is named first among the apostles of Jesus; he was often their spokesman and leader; he was the first to preach after Pentecost; and he was the leader in defending Christ and his message. Peter was at the Transfiguration and in the garden.
He proclaimed to Jesus, “You are the Christ,” and Christ singled him out:
“So I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18–19)
Jesus prayed for Peter that he might strengthen his brothers. (Luke 22:32) And Jesus gave Peter a threefold commission to “feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17)
From the beginning, the primacy, of Peter has been recognised. On the feast of the Chair of Peter, we celebrate our unity as a Church. We celebrate the love, presence and protection of Christ for us, the Church. The title Chair of Peter refers to the chair from which a bishop presided, a symbol of his authority. When the title refers to Saint Peter, it recalls the supreme teaching power of Peter and his successors. It is from the chair, from the pastoral power given him, that the pope shepherds Christ’s flock.
Last year’s post has a homily from Pope Benedict: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/feast-of-the-chair-of-st-peter-22-february/