Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 26 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Paula of St. Joseph Calasanz
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Virtually pray at San Pietro in Vincoli, a hymn to freedom

illpaxphotomatic | Shutterstock

Marinella Bandini - published on 02/22/21

Station Church Day 6: Peter's chains are here, as well as Michelangelo's "Moses."

Aleteia invites you to a virtual Lenten pilgrimage through Rome’s 42 station churches: one church per day, from February 17 to April 11.

Day 6

The Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains) owes its name to the precious relic it holds: the chains (vincula) of St. Peter.

Everything here speaks of liberation. In the vaulted ceiling above the entrance, we read: Dirupisti vincula mea — “You have broken my chains.”

According to tradition, the chains with which the apostle was held prisoner in Jerusalem were given to the Empress of the East, Aelia Eudocia, who in turn gave them to her daughter, Licinia Eudoxia. The young empress gave them to Pope Leo the Great.

The pope placed the chains next to those of St. Peter’s imprisonment in Rome: as soon as they touched, they merged into one continuous chain, which is kept today under the altar. In memory of the miracle, in 442, work began on a basilica which was called for this reason San Pietro in Vincoli, or St. Peter in Chains.

In the crypt are kept the relics of the seven Maccabee brothers, who died for their Jewish faith in the 2nd century BC. Early Christians admired these martyrs of Judaism, considering them precursors of Christian martyrs, and devotion to them spread rapidly.

Finally, there is the “jewel” of this basilica, the statue of the exceptional liberator of the people of Israel: Moses. The statue was sculpted by Michelangelo for the funeral monument of Pope Julius II.

And I tell you, you are Peter,and on this rockI will build my Church,and the gates of Hadeswill not prevail against it.Mt 16:18

* In collaboration with the Office for Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome.

Read about the tradition of the station churches here. And see previous churches in the pilgrimage here.

Read more:
Christians denied religious freedom in more countries than other groups

Station Churches
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
J-P Mauro
A song to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
Bret Thoman, OFS
Padre Pio says this is a sin that’s difficult to forgive &#...
Palm Sunday
Philip Kosloski
10 Lenten traditions you might see at Mass
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.