Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy and All-glorious Apostle Peter. Bl. Maxim of Tot’ma, Fool-for-Christ (Vologdá—1650). Martyrs Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus, brothers, their grandmother, Leonilla, and with them Neon, Turbo, and the woman, Jonilla (Vovilla), in Cappadocia (161-180). Martyr Danax the Reader, in Macedonia (2nd c.). St. Honoratus, Archbishop of Arles and founder of the Abbey of Lérins (429). Hieromartyr Damascene the New (Mt. Athos—1771).
Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy and All-glorious Apostle Peter
The Veneration of the Honorable Chains of the Holy and All-Praised Apostle Peter: In about the year 42, on the orders of Herod Agrippa, the Apostle Peter was thrown into prison for preaching about Christ the Savior. In prison he was held secure by two iron chains. During the night before his trial, an angel of the Lord removed these chains from the Apostle Peter and led him out from the prison (Acts 12:1-11).
Christians who learned of the miracle took the chains and kept them as precious keepsakes. For three centuries the chains were kept in Jerusalem, and those who were 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 Eudoxia (the wife of Valentinian), who built a church on the Esquiline hill dedicated to the Apostle Peter and placed the chain in it. There were other chains in Rome, with which the Apostle Peter was shackled before his martyrdom under the emperor Nero. These were also placed in the church.
On January 16, the chains of Saint Peter are brought out for public veneration.
Troparion of the saint, tone 4
You came to us without leaving Rome through the precious chains that you wore. First-enthroned of the apostles, we bow down to them in faith and pray: “Through your prayers to God grant us great mercy.”
Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
Christ the Rock radiantly glorifies the Rock of Faith, the first-enthroned of the disciples; He calls us to honor the miracles wrought through Peter’s chains, so that He may grant us forgiveness of our sins.
Hebrews 5:11-6:8 (Epistle)
- We have much to say about Melchizedek, which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in hearing.
- For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
- For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
- But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
- Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
- of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
- And this we will do if God permits.
- For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
- and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
- if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
- For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
- but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Luke 21:5-7, 10-11, 20-24 (Gospel)
- Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,
- “These things which you see – the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
- So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
- Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
- And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
- But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
- Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.
- For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
- But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.
- And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.