The most famous statue of St. Peter the Apostle is also a little mysterious. The life-like bronze statue, displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica, is seated upon a marble throne, one hand holding the symbolic keys, the other hand raised in blessing. The mystery lies in the fact that no one is certain how old the statue really is. While historical evidence about the statue dates it to the 15th century, according to a long-standing tradition it dates back another thousand years. It is said that Pope St. Leo the Great commissioned the statue in thanksgiving for the preservation of Rome from Attila the Hun’s attack.
Over the ages, countless streams of pilgrims kissing St. Peter’s foot, a sign of their unity with and obedience to Christ’s Vicar, have worn his foot down to a smooth, thin, sliver of bronze. Today Pope Francis also honored St. Peter by reverencing the statue, which was arrayed in Papal vestments for today’s Feast of the Chair of Peter, after the Mass installing 19 new cardinals.
Pope Emeritus Benedict was there as well. Seeing these two living popes share a fraternal embrace always gives us chills, as it reminds us of the amazing times we are living through in the Church today.
Below is a short video from Rome Reports with the highlights of today’s Mass.