— Feria Secunda post Dominicam Primam in Quadragesima — Statio ad S. Petrum in Vincula —
Saint Peter was imprisoned by the order of Herod Agrippa. Herod intended to execute Peter after the Passover, but the night before the execution, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Peter, arise quickly, dress yourself, and put on your sandals and cloak.” After hearing these words, the Apostle felt the chains come off him and fall to the floor, and the doors of the prison opened. He passed unseen through the midst of the guards and miraculously left the city.
The mother of Eudoxia (Eudocia, wife of Emperor Theodosius II) sent her daughter the chains that had held St. Peter and fell with the words of the angel. According to tradition, Eudocia had received them from Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem. In order to house and keep the chains, Eudoxia built a church that is known today as the Basilica of San Pietro in Vinculi. The central area of the Basilica is divided by 20 columns, taken from an older, preexisting monument; some traditions tells us that they were taken from the court basilica where Peter was condemned to death.
Prayer over the people (from the Missale Romanum):
Let us pray.
Bow your heads to God.
Loose the bonds of our sins, we beseech You, O Lord, and mercifully turn aside whatever punishment we deserve for them. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
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