ST. PETER having triumphed over the devil in the East, the latter pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the Prince of Apostles.
God had established the Roman Empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of His Gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself, and, repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his ecclesiastical chair. That St. Peter preached in Rome, founded the Church there, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are facts the most incontestable, by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting and of its own nature so public and notorious. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.
It was an ancient custom observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the Chair of St. Peter is found in ancient martyrologies. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for His mercies to His Church, and to implore His future blessings.
Reflection.—As one of God’s greatest mercies to His Church, let us earnestly beg of Him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with His Spirit, with which He animated His apostles.