Festival of St. Peter's Chair

St. Peter's Chair, Festival of

January 18
In ancient times it was the custom in many dioceses for Roman Catholics to observe the anniversary of the date on which the diocese first received a bishop. Perhaps the only remaining observance of this type takes place at the Vatican in Rome, where St. Peter is honored as bishop of Rome and the first pope. The current pope, wearing his triple crown and vestments of gold cloth, is carried in his chair of state on this day in a spectacular procession up the nave of St. Peter's Basilica. He is deposited behind the altar on a richly decorated throne that enshrines the plain wooden chair on which St. Peter is believed to have sat. The ceremony dates back to at least 720 and is regarded as one of the most magnificent ecclesiastical observances to be held at St. Peter's.
CONTACTS:
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
www.italiantourism.com
SOURCES:
BkDays-1864, vol. I, p. 130
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 24
OxYear-1999, p. 41
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 71
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