Peter's Pence

Peter's Pence

Peter's Pence is the practice of lay members of the Roman Catholic Church providing financial support to the Holy See. While the regular tithe goes to the local parish or diocese, the Peter's Pence goes directly to Rome. The practice originated in the eighth century A.D. when Anglo-Saxons decided to send a regular annual sum to the Pope in Rome.

The event by which this payment was enacted is as follows:

:Ethelbert, king of the east Angles, having reigned single some time, thought fit to take a wife; for this purpose he came to the court of Offa, king of Mercia, to desire his daughter in marriage. Queenrid, consort of Offa, a cruel, ambitious, and blood-thirsty woman, who envied the retinue and splendour of the unsuspicious king, resolved in some manner to have him murdered, before he left their court, hoping by that to gain his immense riches; for this purpose she, with her malicious and fascinating arts, overcame the king–her husband, which she most cunningly effected, and, under deep disguises, laid open to him her portentous design; a villain was therefore hired, named Gimberd, who was to murder the innocent prince.

:The manner in which the heinous crime was effected was as cowardly as it was fatal: under the chair of state in which Ethelbert sat, a deep pit was dug; at the bottom of it was placed the murderer; the unfortunate king was then let through a trap-door into the pit; his fear overcame him so much, that he did not attempt resistance. Three months after this, Queenrid died, when circumstances convinced Offa of the innocence of Ethelbert; he therefore, to appease his guilt, built St. Alban's monastery, gave one-tenth part of his goods to the poor, and went in penance to Rome–where he gave to the Pope a penny for every house in his dominions. [ [ "The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction". Volume 10, No. 282, November 10, 1827.] ]

In Anglo-Saxon England, the tax was called the "Rome shot" or "Romescot". [CathEncy|title=Peterspence|url=] Later, the term "Peter's Pence" came to be used for the penny paid to Rome. This custom of donation, called the "Denarius Sancti Petri", or "Alms of Saint Peter", then spread throughout Europe.

It was formalised in 1871 by Pope Pius IX who gave it his approval in the Encyclical Letter "Saepe Venerabilis" (5 August 1871). [ [ Vatican: "An ancient custom still alive today".] ]

At present this collection is taken each year on the Sunday closest to June 29, the Solemnity of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul, according to the Roman Church. According to the report, in 2007, donations amounted to $79,837,843. In 2006 it was $101,900,192. United States was the biggest donor, giving some 28% of the total. It was followed by Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Brazil and Korea.

ee also

*Church tax
*Vatican Bank


External links

* [ The Vatican City Homepage]
* [ Peter's Pence]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Peter's pence — Peter pence or Peter s pence An ancient levy or tax of a penny on each house throughout England, paid to the Pope. It was called Peter pence, because collected on the day of St. Peter, ad vincula; by the Saxons it was called Romefeoh, Romescot,… …   Black's law dictionary

  • Peter's pence — Peter Pe ter, n. A common baptismal name for a man. The name of one of the apostles, [1913 Webster] {Peter boat}, a fishing boat, sharp at both ends, originally of the Baltic Sea, but now common in certain English rivers. {Peter Funk}, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Peter's pence — n. 1. an annual tax, orig. of one penny, paid to the papal see by certain English property owners before the Reformation 2. an annual voluntary donation made by Catholics everywhere to the papal see: Also Peter pence …   English World dictionary

  • Peter's pence — 1.) money given by Roman Catholics in many countries to help to pay for the running of the ↑Vatican (=the offices of the Pope) 2.) a tax of one penny which each person in England had to pay to the ↑Pope until Henry VIII stopped it in 1534 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Peter's pence — 1. an annual tax or tribute, originally of a penny, paid by certain English property owners to the papal see until the Reformation. 2. a voluntary contribution to the pope, made by Roman Catholics. Also, Peter pence. [1175 1225; ME Peteres peni… …   Universalium

  • Peter's pence — [Rom feoh] Denarius Sancti Petri. A penny tax each year on every house in England, collected at midsummer, and paid to the Holy See. Just when it began is not clear. A letter from Canute in 1031 mentions the penny owed to Rome. Claims were made… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Peter's pence — Pe′ter s pence′ or Pe′ter pence n. 1) rel an annual tax of a penny from each household, formerly paid to the papal see 2) rel a voluntary contribution to the pope, made by Roman Catholics • Etymology: 1175–1225 …   From formal English to slang

  • Peter's pence — noun plural but singular in construction Etymology: Middle English; from the tradition that Saint Peter founded the papal see Date: 14th century 1. an annual tribute of a penny formerly paid by each householder in England to the papal see 2. a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • PETER'S PENCE —    an annual tribute of a silver penny per household in England to support the chair of St. Peter at Rome, and which continued more or less to be levied from the end of the 8th century till the days of Elizabeth, when it ceased. The payment has… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Peter's pence — plural noun 1》 historical an annual tax of one penny from householders with land of a certain value, paid to the papal see. 2》 (since 1860) a voluntary payment by Roman Catholics to the papal treasury. Origin named after St Peter, the first Pope …   English new terms dictionary