Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August 1

St. Peter’s Chains – the chains which fettered the Prince of the Apostles in his Roman prison – are held in the basilica of St. Peter ad Vincula at Rome. The chains are made up of two parts, manacles with eleven elongated links, and another chain of twenty-three links with two half-circles to be locked round the neck. The popes used sometimes to send as precious gifts some filings of these chains in a golden key, symbolical of Peter’s authority, and they were also put in rings or cross worn for preservation from harm.
A commemoration of St. Paul is made for two reasons. That one of the Apostles of Rome is never celebrated without commemorating the other, and that four links of St. Paul’s chains are preserved with those of St. Peter.

There is an optional commemoration today of the Holy Machabees. These were seven brothers martyred with their mother under Antiochus Epiphanes around 150 B.C.. The Fathers of the Church after preached in praise of their courage and pointed to them as a model for Christian martyrs. Some relics believed to be those of the Machabees are also held in the basilica of St. Peter ad Vincula.

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