For those in bondage

H/T: Mystagogy

Ironically enough today is the Slava of a good friend of ours who is a lawyer, whose job it is to prevent people from being taken into bondage and it is to St. Peter that we pray for those in bondage.

For three centuries the Chains were kept in Jerusalem, and those afflicted with illness and approached them with faith received healing. Patriarch Juvenal (July 2) presented the Chains to Eudokia, wife of the emperor Theodosius the Younger, and she in turn transferred them from Jerusalem to Constantinople in either the year 437 or 439.

Eudokia sent one Chain to Rome to her daughter Eudokia (the wife of Valentinian), who built a church on the Esquiline Hill dedicated to the Apostle Peter and placed the Chains in it. There were other Chains in Rome, such as that which had bound the saint during his nine month imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison near the Forum, with which the Apostle Peter was shackled before his martyrdom under the Emperor Nero. These were also placed in the church. It is said that when the pope compared the two Chains, they miraculously fused together into one unbreakable series of links. Because of this miracle, Empress Eudokia built the Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli), and dedicated it to the apostle in the year 442. The relic is now kept in a golden urn beneath the high altar, close to the famous statue of Michelangelo’s Moses.

The basilica has undergone several restorations and rebuildings, including a restoration by Pope Adrian I, a rebuilding by Pope Sixtus IV and another by Pope Julius II. There was also a renovation in 1875. Some modernizations were made at that time.

Michelangelo’s Moses, which dates from 1515, is the most notable piece of artwork in the basilica. Originally intended as part of a 40-statue funeral monument for Pope Julius II, Moses became the Pope’s funeral monument and tomb in his family’s church.

Further, Arator, Subdeacon of the Roman Church in the sixth century, wrote that the Chains wherewith Peter was bound at Jerusalem, or certainly some of them, were preserved at Rome in his own time, and consequently the veneration of Peter’s Chains greatly increased; especially when, as we learn from other records of the Church of Rome, a basilica was built by the younger Eudokia, wife of Valentinian III, on the Esquiline Hill, under the name of Saint Peter in Chains. This temple, or a re-building of it, was dedicated on August 1st, whence the day was placed in the Roman Calendar as the Feast of Saint Peter’s Chains, afterwards called in England Lammas Day, from the custom of offering loaves of bread made from the first-gathered grain of the year, in thanksgiving from the beginning of the harvest. And, because of his Chains, this holy Apostle is often invoked for those in bondage.

Read more here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s