Peter’s chains

peterschains.jpgHerod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great and king of the Jews, grew angry with the Church and murdered James, the brother of John the Evangelist. Seeing that this pleased the Jews, Herod took Peter into custody and locked him in prison, intending to keep him there until after the feast of the Passover, so that he could win the favor of the people by presenting him to them as a victim. But the Apostle was saved when he was miraculously set free by an Angel (Acts 12:1-19). The chains with which the Apostle was bound received the grace of sanctification and healing is bestowed upon the faithful who draw nigh with faith.

That such sacred treasures work wonders and healings is witnessed by the divine Scripture, where it speaks concerning Paul, saying that the Christians in Ephesus had such reverence for him, that his handkerchiefs and aprons, taken up with much reverence, healed the sick of their maladies: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). But not only the Apostles’ clothing (which certainly touched the bodies of the sick), but even their shadow alone performed healings. On beholding this, people would put their sick on stretchers and beds and bring them out into the streets so that, when Peter passed by, his shadow “might overshadow some of them”(Acts 5:15). From this the Orthodox Catholic Church has learned to show reverence and piety not only to the relics of their bodies, but also even the clothing of God’s Saints.

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