January 18: The Confession of Saint Peter

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The Confession of Saint Peter is on January 18. This year it falls on a Sunday, so we celebrate with a full-blown Festal Eucharist at 11am, during which the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys sings Alonso Lobo’s Missa Petre ego pro te rogavi and Francisco Guerrero’s Petre ego pro te rogavi. We also celebrate with a Said Mass at 8am, a Sung Mass at 9am with the junior choristers, and a Festal Evensong at 4pm with the full choir. Fr Turner preaches at 11am and Fr Daniels preaches at 4pm.

The Confession of Saint Peter is recorded in Matthew as follows: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The above passage serves as the Gospel at the 8am, 9am and 11am services on January 18. At Choral Evensong at 4pm, we keep with the Saint Peter theme, but transition from his Confession (which occurred before Jesus’ crucifixion) to his Restoration (which occurred after Jesus’ resurrection). Peter, having denied Christ three times before his crucifixion, is restored to his fullness when Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Peter responds that he does, and Christ charges him to “feed my sheep.”

To understand the signficance of this feast, you might find these sermons in our archive helpful:

Sermons about the Confession of Saint Peter
Sermons about Saint Peter

The Confession of Saint Peter is also the beginning of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, which ends eight days later with the Conversion of Saint Paul (January 25).