SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

January 16

From the Prologue

Saint Peter is commemorated on this day because of the chains by which he was shackled by the lawless Herod and which during the appearance of an angel in prison fell from him, "Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, `Get up quickly.' The chains fell from his wrists" (Acts of the Apostles 12:7). The chains were preserved by Christians as much for the memory of this great apostle as well as for their healing power, for many of the sick were healed by touching them as well as with the towel of the Apostle Paul, "then when the face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them" (Acts of the Apostles 19:12). St. Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem gave these chains as a gift to the Empress Eudocia, the exiled wife of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger. She divided them into two and sent one half to the Church of the Holy Apostle in Constantinople and the other half to her daughter Empress Eudoxia in Rome, the wife of Valentian. Eudoxia built the Church of St. Peter and deposited these chains in it, together with those chains with which Peter was shackled before his death under Emperor Nero.





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