Wednesday, 9 November 2011

St John Lateran Basilica

Today is the Feast Day of the St John Lateran Basilica in Rome. It was one of the first churches built by Christians following the early persecutions. It is the oldest of the four papal basilicas in Rome.

Its official name is “Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sanctorum Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano”. This translates in English as “Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and St John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran”.

“As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, containing the papal throne, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.

The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican City boundaries, territorially located within the city of Rome in the Italian Republic.

It has however been granted a special extraterritorial status as a property of the Holy See.”[1]

The Cathedral claims the title “Mater Ecclesiae Romae Urbis et Orbis” which means “Mother of all the churches in Rome and of the world”. Its official dedication was presided over by Pope Sylvester I in the year 324 AD.

The Lateran Palace and basilica have been rededicated twice.

Pope Sergius III dedicated them to St John the Baptist in the 10th century in honour of the newly consecrated baptistry of the Basilica. Pope Lucius II dedicated the Lateran Palace and basilica to St John the Evangelist in the 12th century.

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