Sermon by St. Leo the Pope
The Lord asked his disciples who men said that he was, and their answers were human as long as they were the answers of human reason, unilluminated by Divine light. At last, when the glimmerings of earthly conjecture were spoken, he whose Apostleship is the first in dignity, was the first to confess the Lord: 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 Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. That is to say, For this cause art thou blessed, because my Father himself hath taught thee; the opinions of men have not beguiled thee, the voices of angels have not taught thee, not flesh and blood, but he, whose Only-Begotten Son I am, hath revealed me unto thee.
Thus saith the Lord unto Simon Peter: And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter. That is to say, Even as my Father hath revealed unto thee concerning me that I am God, even so now will I also reveal unto thee that thou art Peter; I am the sure Rock of defence, the Corner Stone, who make both one, I am the Foundation, besides which other can no man lay, and thou also art a rock, in my Strength made hard, and those things whereof I by right am Lord, into thy hand do I give them, that thou mayest bear rule over them, for me, and with me. And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Upon this strength of thine, whereof I am the Strength, I will build mine eternal temple, and upon the truth of thy confession of me I will make to rise that my glorious Church whose spires shall pierce to heaven.
Against this confession the gates of hell shall never prevail, neither shall the bands of death take hold upon it. Thus saith he that is faithful and true. And as this confession hath power to lift up to heaven them that make it, so is it able to thrust down to hell them that gainsay it. Wherefore it is said unto the most blessed Peter: 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. This power passed indeed to the other Apostles also; this the Lord's will had effect in them; but it is not in vain that it is written that that was given to one which passed from him to all. To Peter alone were the keys given, and Peter is set as the pattern for all them that bear rule in the Church to follow. There remaineth therefore the right of Peter, wheresoever his judgment decreeth justice. Neither is there anything too hard, or too lax, where is nothing bound and nothing loosed, save when Peter bindeth or looseth.
In the honour which is this day paid to the inauguration of the first Bishop's throne, an honour is paid to the office of all Bishops. The Churches testify one to another, that, the greater the Church's dignity, the greater the reverence due to her priests. While I confess how rightly godly custom hath exalted this Feast in the estimation of all the Churches, the more do I wonder at the growth of that unhealthy error which at this day causeth some unbelievers to lay food and wine upon the graves of the dead, as if souls once rid of the body had any longer any need of bodily refreshment." St. Augustine the Bishop