Early Roman Christians celebrated on this day a feast in honour of their departed loved ones, including their predecessors in the faith, Peter and Paul. In the 4th-century, when the feast of these two saints was moved to June 29th, the emphasis of this day shifted to celebrating Peter and his successors as bishops of Rome, and expressing gratitude for their service.
“The ‘cathedra’ is literally the seat of the bishop”. Pope Benedict XVI said on this day in 2006. “It is the symbol of his authority and, particularly, of his ‘Magisterium’, in other words of the evangelical teaching that he, as a successor to the Apostles, is called to protect and transmit to the Christian community”.
To celebrate the ‘Chair’ of Peter means, then, giving it a strong spiritual significance, and recognizing therein a privileged sign of the love of God.