Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

The Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran, (Italian: Santissimo Salvatore e Santi Giovanni Battista ed Evangelista in Laterano) – also known as the Papal Archbasilica of St. John [in] Lateran, St. John Lateran, or the Lateran Basilica – is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome in the city of Rome and serves as the seat of the Roman Pontiff.

It is the oldest and highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, giving it the unique title of "archbasilica". Because it is the oldest public church in the city of Rome, it is the oldest and most important basilica of the Western world,[2] and houses the cathedra of the Roman bishop,[3][4] it has the title of ecumenical mother church of the Catholic faithful.

The current archpriest is Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.[5] The President of the French Republic, currently Emmanuel Macron, is ex officio the "first and only honorary canon" of the archbasilica, a title that the heads of state of France have possessed since King Henry IV.

The large Latin inscription on the façade reads: Clemens XII Pont Max Anno V Christo Salvatori In Hon SS Ioan Bapt et Evang. This abbreviated inscription translates to: "Pope Clement XII, in the fifth year [of his Pontificate, dedicated this building] to Christ the Savior, in honor of Saints John the Baptist and [John] the Evangelist".[6] The inscription indicates, with its full title (see below), that the archbasilica was originally dedicated to Christ the Savior and, centuries later, co-dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. As the Cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, it ranks superior to all other churches of the Roman Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica.

The archbasilica is sited in the City of Rome. It is outside Vatican City, which is approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to its northwest, although the archbasilica and its adjoining edifices have extraterritorial status from Italy as one of the properties of the Holy See, pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929.[1]

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Major Papal, Patriarchal and Roman Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World
  • Arcibasilica Papale Romana Maggiore di San Giovanni in Laterano  (Italian)
  • Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris ac Sancti Ioannis Baptistae et Ioannis Evangelistae ad Lateranum  (Latin)
Ornate facade of the basilica at night with columns, main door, and statues of the twelve Apostles on the roofline, with a Latin inscription below them
Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran
Map of the city of Rome with a red dot on the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Map of the city of Rome with a red dot on the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Location in Rome
Map of the city of Rome with a red dot on the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Map of the city of Rome with a red dot on the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Location in Italy
41°53′9″N 12°30′20″E / 41.88583°N 12.50556°ECoordinates: 41°53′9″N 12°30′20″E / 41.88583°N 12.50556°E
TraditionLatin Rite
WebsiteArchbasilica of St. John Lateran
StatusPapal major basilica, Cathedral
DedicationSt. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist
ConsecratedAD 324
Architect(s)Alessandro Galilei
Architectural typeCathedral
StyleBaroque, Neoclassical
GroundbreakingAD 4th century
Length140 metres (460 ft)
Width140 metres (460 ft)
Nave width65 metres (213 ft)
MaterialsMarble, granite, and cement
DioceseDiocese of Rome
Bishop(s)Pope Francis
ArchpriestAngelo De Donatis
Official nameHistoric Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Criteriai, ii, iii, iv, vi
Designated1980 (4th session)
Reference no.91
State PartyItaly and Holy See
RegionEurope and North America


Inscription Ecclesiarum Mater San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07
Next to the formal entrance is the archbasilica's declaration to be the head, or Mother Church, of the entire world. Note the laurel wreath and the Papal tiara.

The archbasilica's Latin name is Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris ac Sancti Ioannis Baptistae et Ioannis Evangelistae ad Lateranum,[7] which in English is the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at the Lateran, and in Italian Arcibasilica [Papale] del Santissimo Salvatore e Santi Giovanni Battista ed Evangelista in Laterano.[5]

Lateran Palace

The archbasilica stands over the remains of the Castra Nova equitum singularium, the "New Fort of the Roman imperial cavalry bodyguards". The fort was established by Septimius Severus in AD 193. Following the victory of Emperor Constantine I over Maxentius (for whom the Equites singulares augusti, the emperor's mounted bodyguards had fought) at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the guard was abolished and the fort demolished. Substantial remains of the fort lie directly beneath the nave.

The remainder of the site was occupied during the early Roman Empire by the palace of the gens Laterani. Sextius Lateranus was the first plebeian to attain the rank of consul, and the Laterani served as administrators for several emperors. One of the Laterani, Consul-designate Plautius Lateranus, became famous for being accused by Nero of conspiracy against the Emperor. The accusation resulted in the confiscation and redistribution of his properties.

The Lateran Palace fell into the hands of the Emperor when Constantine I married his second wife Fausta, sister of Maxentius. Known by that time as the "Domus Faustae" or "House of Fausta," the Lateran Palace was eventually given to the Bishop of Rome by Constantine I. The actual date of the donation is unknown, but scholars speculate that it was during the pontificate of Pope Miltiades, in time to host a synod of bishops in 313 that was convened to challenge the Donatist schism, declaring Donatism to be heresy. The palace basilica was converted and extended, becoming the residence of Pope St. Silvester I, eventually becoming the Cathedral of Rome, the seat of the Popes as the Bishops of Rome.[8]

Early Church

Lazio Roma SGiovanni2 tango7174
The papal cathedra, the presence of which renders the archbasilica the cathedral of Rome, is located in its apse. The decorations are in cosmatesque style.

Pope Sylvester I presided over the official dedication of the archbasilica and the adjacent Lateran Palace in 324, changing the name from "Domus Fausta" to "Domus Dei" ("House of God") with a dedication to Christ the Savior ("Christo Salvatori").

When a cathedra became a symbol of episcopal authority, the papal cathedra was placed in its interior, rendering it the cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome.

When Gregory the Great sent the Gregorian mission to England under Augustine of Canterbury, some original churches in Canterbury took the Roman plan as a model, dedicating a church both to Christ as well as one to St. Paul, outside the walls of the city. Ironically the church name "Christ Church" so common for churches around the world today in Anglophone Anglican contexts originally came from this Roman church, central to pre-medieval Christian identity.

The Middle Ages

San Giovanni in Laterano - Baldacchino
The high altar and the 14th-century Gothic ciborium. By legend, the relic of the original wooden altar used by St. Peter comprises the high altar. Above the ciborium are the appearances of Sts. Peter and Paul.[9]

On the archbasilica's front wall between the main portals is a plaque inscribed with the words "Sacrosancta Lateranensis ecclesia omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput", which translate to "Most Holy Lateran Church, mother and head of all the churches in the city and the world"; a visible indication of the declaration that the basilica is the "mother church" of all the world.

The archbasilica and Lateran Palace were re-dedicated twice. Pope Sergius III dedicated them to St. John the Baptist in the 10th century in honor of the newly consecrated baptistry of the archbasilica. Pope Lucius II dedicated them to John the Evangelist in the 12th century. Thus, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist became co-patrons of the archbasilica, while the primary Patron is still Christ the Savior, as the inscription in the entrance indicates and as is traditional for patriarchal cathedrals. Consequently, the archbasilica remains dedicated to the Savior, and its titular feast is the Feast of the Transfiguration. The archbasilica became the most important shrine of the two St. Johns, albeit infrequently jointly venerated. In later years, a Benedictine monastery was established in the Lateran Palace, and was devoted to serving the archbasilica and the two saints.

Every pope, beginning with Pope Miltiades, occupied the Lateran Palace until the reign of the French Pope Clement V, who in 1309 transferred the seat of the Papacy to Avignon, a Papal fiefdom that was an enclave in France. The Lateran Palace has also been the site of five ecumenical councils (see Lateran Councils).

Lateran fires

During the time the papacy was seated in Avignon, France, the Lateran Palace and the archbasilica deteriorated. Two fires ravaged them in 1307 and 1361. After both fires the pope sent money from Avignon to pay for their reconstruction and maintenance. Nonetheless, the archbasilica and Lateran Palace lost their former splendor.

When the papacy returned from Avignon and the pope again resided in Rome, the archbasilica and the Lateran Palace were deemed inadequate considering their accumulated damage. The popes resided at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and later at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Eventually, the Palace of the Vatican was built adjacent to the Basilica of St. Peter, which existed since the time of Emperor Constantine I, and the popes began to reside there. It has remained the official residence of the pope (though Pope Francis unofficially resides elsewhere in the Vatican City).


There were several attempts at reconstruction of the archbasilica before a definitive program of Pope Sixtus V. Sixtus V hired his favorite architect, Domenico Fontana, to supervise much of the project. The original Lateran Palace was demolished and replaced with a new edifice. On the square in front of the Lateran Palace is the largest standing obelisk in the world, known as the Lateran Obelisk. It weighs an estimated 455 tons. It was commissioned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III and erected by Thutmose IV before the great Karnak temple of Thebes, Egypt. Intended by Emperor Constantine I to be shipped to Constantinople, the very preoccupied Constantius II had it shipped instead to Rome, where it was erected in the Circus Maximus in AD 357. At some time it broke and was buried under the Circus. In the 16th century it was discovered and excavated, and Sixtus V had it re-erected on a new pedestal on 3 August 1588 at its present site.[10][11][12]

Further renovation of the interior of the archbasilica, ensued under the direction of Francesco Borromini, commissioned by Pope Innocent X. The twelve niches created by his architectural scheme were eventually filled in 1718 with statues of the Apostles, sculpted by the most prominent Roman Rococo sculptors.

Main body of the basilica, after the radical transformation by Francesco Borromini.
Main body of the basilica, after the radical transformation by Francesco Borromini.

The vision of Pope Clement XII for reconstruction was an ambitious one in which he launched a competition to design a new façade. More than 23 architects competed, mostly working in the then-current Baroque idiom. The putatively impartial jury was chaired by Sebastiano Conca, president of the Roman Academy of Saint Luke. The winner of the competition was Alessandro Galilei.

The façade as it appears today was completed in 1735. It reads in Latin: Clemens XII Pont Max Anno V Christo Salvatori In Hon SS Ioan Bapt et Evang; this highly abbreviated inscription is expanded thus: Clemens XII, Pont[ifex] Max[imus], [in] Anno V, [dedicavit hoc aedificium] Christo Salvatori, in hon[orem] [sanctorum] Ioan[is] Bapt[tistae] et Evang[elistae]. This translates as "Pope Clement XII, in the fifth year of his reign, dedicated this building to Christ the Savior, in honor of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist".[6] Galilei's façade removed all vestiges of traditional, ancient, basilical architecture and imparted a neo-classical facade.

Rom, Basilika San Giovanni in Laterano, Decke der Basilika 2



The Lateran Obelisk in its third location, in front of the Lateran Palace.

San Giovanni in Laterano - Seitenansicht

The Loggia delle Benedizioni, on the rear left side. Annexed, on the left, is the Lateran Palace.

World War II

During the Second World War, the Lateran and its related buildings were used under Pope Pius XII as a safe haven from the Nazis and Italian Fascists for numbers of Jews and other refugees. Among those who found shelter there were Meuccio Ruini, Alcide De Gasperi, Pietro Nenni and others. The Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and the sixty orphan refugees they cared for were ordered to leave their convent on the Via Carlo Emanuele. The Sisters of Maria Bambina, who staffed the kitchen at the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary at the Lateran offered a wing of their convent. The grounds also housed Italian soldiers.[13]

Vincenzo Fagiolo and Pietro Palazzini, vice-rector of the seminary, were recognized by Yad Vashem for their efforts to assist Jews.[14][15]

Architectural history

An apse lined with mosaics and open to the air still preserves the memory of one of the most famous halls of the ancient palace, the "Triclinium" of Pope Leo III, which was the state banqueting hall. The existing structure is not ancient, but some portions of the original mosaics may have been preserved in the tripartite mosaic of its niche. In the center Christ gives to the Apostles their mission; on the left He gives the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Pope St. Sylvester and the Labarum to Emperor Constantine I; and on the right St. Peter gives the Papal stole to Pope Leo III and the standard to Charlemagne.

Holy Door at the Lateran Basilica Rome
Holy Door at the Lateran Papal Basilica

Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large wall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the 18th century within the archbasilica behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings were also revealed during the excavations of 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing of importance was published.

A great many donations from the Popes and other benefactors to the archbasilica are recorded in the Liber Pontificalis, and its splendor at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or "Golden Basilica". This splendor drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. Pope Leo I restored it around AD 460, and it was again restored by Pope Hadrian.

In 897, it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake: ab altari usque ad portas cecidit ("it collapsed from the altar to the doors"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace the lines of the old building, but these were mostly respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This second basilica stood for 400 years before it burned in 1308. It was rebuilt by Pope Clement V and Pope John XXII. It burned once more in 1360, and was rebuilt by Pope Urban V.

Through vicissitudes the archbasilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front a peristyle surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle, the conventional Late Antique format that was also followed by the old St. Peter's Basilica. The façade had three windows and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Savior of the world.

The porticoes were frescoed, probably not earlier than the 12th century, commemorating the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of Emperor Constantine I and his "Donation" of the Papal States to the Catholic Church. Inside the archbasilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church, from east to west.

In one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Pope Clement V, a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been added, long before this, to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Probably at this time the archbasilica was enlarged.

Some portions of the older buildings survive. Among them the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the cloister. The graceful ciborium over the high altar, which looks out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the Popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museums. It owes its unsavory name to the anthem sung at previous Papal coronations, "De stercore erigens pauperem" ("lifting up the poor out of the dunghill", from Psalm 112).

From the 5th century, there were seven oratories surrounding the archbasilica. These before long were incorporated into the church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which was maintained through the Mediaeval Ages, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere.

Of the façade by Alessandro Galilei (1735), the cliché assessment has ever been that it is the façade of a palace, not of a church. Galilei's front, which is a screen across the older front creating a narthex or vestibule, does express the nave and double aisles of the archbasilica, which required a central bay wider than the rest of the sequence. Galilei provided it, without abandoning the range of identical arch-headed openings, by extending the central window by flanking columns that support the arch, in the familiar Serlian motif.

By bringing the central bay forward very slightly, and capping it with a pediment that breaks into the roof balustrade, Galilei provided an entrance doorway on a more than colossal scale, framed in the paired colossal Corinthian pilasters that tie together the façade in the manner introduced at Michelangelo's palace on the Campidoglio.

Statues of the Apostles

The twelve niches created in Francesco Borromini's architecture were left vacant for decades. When in 1702 Pope Clement XI and Benedetto Cardinal Pamphili, archpriests of the archbasilica, announced their grand scheme for twelve larger-than-life sculptures of the Apostles (replacing Judas Iscariot with St. Paul) to fill the niches, the commission was opened to all the premier sculptors of late Baroque Rome.[16] Each statue was to be sponsored by an illustrious prince with the Pope himself sponsoring that of St. Peter and Cardinal Pamphili that of St. John the Evangelist. Most of the sculptors were given a sketch drawn by Pope Clement's favorite painter, Carlo Maratta, to which they were to adhere, but with the notable exception being Pierre Le Gros the Younger, who successfully refused to sculpt to Maratta's design and consequently was not given a sketch.[17]

The sculptors and their sculptures follow and are dated according to Conforti:

St. Paul (1704–08)
St. Peter (1704–11)
  • Francesco Moratti
St. Simon (1704–09)
St. Jude Thaddeus (1704–09)
St. Philip (1705–11)
St. Thomas (1705–11)
St. Bartholomew (c. 1705–12)
St. James the Lesser (1705–11)
St. Andrew (1705–09)
St. John (1705–11)
St. Matthew (1711–15)
St. James the Greater (1715–18)
Petrus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Peter
by Monnot

Paulus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Paul
by Monnot

Bartholomaeus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Bartholomew
by Le Gros

Jacobus Major San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. James the Greater by Rusconi

Simone a San Giovanni in Laterano.jpeg

St. Simon
by Moratti

Thaddeus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Jude Thaddeaus
by Ottoni

Philippus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Philip
by Mazzuoli

Thomas San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07 n2

St. Thomas
by Le Gros

Jacobus Minor San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. James the Lesser
by de' Rossi

Andreas San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Andrew
by Rusconi

Johannes San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. John
by Rusconi

Matthaeus San Giovanni in Laterano 2006-09-07

St. Matthew
by Rusconi

Papal tombs

Helena tomb
The Sarcophagus of Saint Helena, reused by Pope Anastasius IV, the only tomb to survive the Lateran fires. It is currently in the Vatican Museums.

There are six extant papal tombs inside the archbasilica: Alexander III (right aisles), Pope Sergius IV (right aisles), Pope Clement XII Corsini (left aisle), Pope Martin V (in front of the confessio); Pope Innocent III (right transept); and Pope Leo XIII (left transept), by G. Tadolini (1907). The last of these, Pope Leo XIII, was the last pope not to be entombed in St. Peter's Basilica.

Twelve additional papal tombs were constructed in the archbasilica starting in the 10th century, but were destroyed during the two fires that ravaged it in 1308 and 1361. The remains of these charred tombs were gathered and reburied in a polyandrum. The popes whose tombs were destroyed are: Pope John X (914–28), Pope Agapetus II (946–55), Pope John XII (955–64), Pope Paschal II (1099–1118), Pope Callixtus II (1119–24), Pope Honorius II (1124–30), Pope Celestine II (1143–4), Pope Lucius II (1144–5), Pope Anastasius IV (1153–4), Pope Clement III (1187–91), Pope Celestine III (1191–8), and Pope Innocent V (1276). Popes who reigned during this period, whose tombs are unknown, and who may have been buried in the archbasilica include Pope John XVII (1003), Pope John XVIII (1003–9), and Pope Alexander II (1061–73). Pope John X was the first pope buried within the walls of Rome, and was granted a prominent burial due to rumors that he was murdered by Theodora during a historical period known as the saeculum obscurum. Cardinals Vincenzo Santucci and Carlo Colonna are also buried in the archbasilica.

Lateran cloister

Between the archbasilica and the city wall there was in former times a great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the archbasilica. The only part of it which still survives is the 13th century cloister, surrounded by graceful, twisted columns of inlaid marble. They are of a style intermediate between the Romanesque proper and the Gothic, and are the work of Vassellectus and the Cosmati.

Lateran baptistery

The octagonal Lateran baptistery stands somewhat apart from the archbasilica. It was founded by Pope Sixtus III, perhaps on an earlier structure, for a legend arose that Emperor Constantine I was baptized there and enriched the edifice. The baptistery was for many generations the only baptistery in Rome, and its octagonal structure, centered upon the large basin for full immersions, provided a model for others throughout Italy, and even an iconic motif of illuminated manuscripts known as "the fountain of life".

Holy Stairs

The Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs, are white marble steps encased in wooden ones. According to Catholic Tradition, they form the staircase which once led to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and which, therefore, were sanctified by the footsteps of Jesus Christ during His Passion. The marble stairs are visible through openings in the wooden risers. Their translation from Jerusalem to the Lateran Palace in the 4th century is credited to St. Empress Helena, the mother of the then-Emperor Constantine I. In 1589, Pope Sixtus V relocated the steps to their present location in front of the ancient palatine chapel named the Sancta Sanctorum. Ferraù Fenzoni completed some of the frescoes on the walls.

Feast of the Dedication of the Archbasilica

The anniversary of the dedication of this church has been observed as a feast in Roman Catholicism only since the 12th century, a time of increasing centralization of papal authority in the history of the Church. In the General Roman Calendar of the Catholic Church, 9 November is the feast of the Dedication of the (Arch)Basilica of the Lateran (Dedicatio Basilicae Lateranensis), and is referred to in older texts as the "Dedication of the Basilica of the Most Holy Savior". In view of its role as the mother church of the world, this liturgical day is ranked worldwide as a feast.


Pope Boniface VIII instituted the office of Archpriest of the Archbasilica circa 1299.[18]

List of Archpriests of the Archbasilica:[19]



Alessandro Galilei completed the late Baroque façade of the archbasilica in 1735 after winning a competition for the design.

St John Lateran claim as head church in the world

Next to the main entrance is the inscription of the archbasilica's declaration to being the mother church of the world.

St John Lateran ceiling

The decorated ceiling.

Triclinium of Leo III

Apse depicting mosaics from the Triclinium of Pope Leo III in the ancient Lateran Palace.

Latran intérieur

The cloister of the attached monastery, with a cosmatesque decoration.

Rom, Lateran, Kreuzgang des Klosters

The cloister of the attached monastery.

Notre Dame de Czestochowa

Our Lady of Częstochowa depicted in the archbasilica.

Papal Archbasilica of St. John In Lateran Inside Photo

Interior picture of the Papal Archbasilica of St. John In Lateran

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b The archbasilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. (Lateran Treaty of 1929, Article 15 (The Treaty of the Lateran by Benedict Williamson; London: Burns, Oates, and Washbourne Limited, 1929; pages 42–66)) However, the Holy See fully owns the archbasilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof (Lateran Treaty of 1929, Article 13 (Ibidem)) and to concede to it "the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States" (Lateran Treaty of 1929, Article 15 (Ibidem)).
  2. ^ "San Giovanni in Laterano". Giubileo 2000. Santa Sede -
  3. ^ "Papal basilicas". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  4. ^ Pope Benedict XVI's theological act of renouncing the title of "Patriarch of the West" had as a consequence that the "patriarchal basilicas" are now officially known as "papal basilicas.
  5. ^ a b "Basilica Papale" (in Italian). Vicariatus Urbis: Portal of the Diocese of Rome. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  6. ^ a b Landsford, Tyler (2009). The Latin Inscriptions of Rome: A Walking Guide. JHU Press. p. 236. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  7. ^ Milioni, Albano (2007). L'Arcibasilica papale del Laterano nei secoli. Quasar. p. 142. Statuta Patriarchalis Archibasilicae Ss.mi Salvatoris ac SS. Ioannis Baptistae et Ioannis Evangelistae ad Lateranum Romanae Ecclesiae Cathedralis.
  8. ^ "Arcibasilica Papale San Giovanni in Laterano – Cenni storici" (in Italian). Holy See. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  9. ^ Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "Dedication of St. John Lateran". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 265–266. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.
  10. ^ Fanny Davenport and Rogers MacVeagh, Fountains of Papal Rome (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915), pp. 156 et seq.
  11. ^ Lunde, Paul (March – April 1979). "A Forest of Obelisks". Saudi Aramco World. Houston, Texas: Aramco Services Company. pp. 28–32. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  12. ^ PBS:NOVA:A World of Obelisks-Rome
  13. ^ Marchione, Margherita. Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy, Paulist Press, 2001 ISBN 9780809140329
  14. ^ "Palazzini", the righteous among the Nations, Yad Vashem
  15. ^ "Fagiolo", The Righteous Among the Nations, Yad Vashem
  16. ^ "The largest sculptural task in Rome during the early eighteenth century," per Rudolph Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600–1750, Revised Edition, 1965, p. 290, provides that "the distribution for commissions is, at the same time, a good yardstick for measuring the reputation of contemporary sculptors."
  17. ^ Cf. Michael Conforti, The Lateran Apostles, unpublished Ph. D. thesis (Harvard University, 1977); Conforti published a short resume of his dissertation: Planning the Lateran Apostles, in Henry A. Millon (editor), Studies in Italian Art and Architecture 15th through 18th Centuries, (Rome, 1980) (Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 35), pp. 243–60.
  18. ^ Moroni, Gaetano (1840–61). Dizionario di Erudizione Storico–Ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai Nostri Giorni (in Italian). 12. Venezia: Tipografia Emiliana. p. 31.
  19. ^ Respective biographic entries in "Essay of a General List of Cardinals". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church..
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Barnes, Arthur S. (1913). "Saint John Lateran" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Claussen, Peter C.; Senekovic, Darko (2008). S. Giovanni in Laterano. Mit einem Beitrag von Darko Senekovic über S. Giovanni in Fonte, in Corpus Cosmatorum, Volume 2, 2. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 3-515-09073-8.
  • Krautheimer, Richard; Frazer, Alfred; Corbett, Spencer (1937–77). Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The Early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries). Vatican City: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana (Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology). OCLC 163156460.
  • Webb, Matilda (2001). The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. p. 41. ISBN 1-902210-57-3.
  • Lenski, Noel (2006). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-521-52157-2.
  • Stato della Città del Vaticano (2009). "Arcibasilica Papale Di San Giovanni In Laterano" (in Italian). Holy See. Retrieved 24 October 2010.

External links

Agostino Vallini

Agostino Vallini (born 17 April 1940) is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been a cardinal since 2006. From 2008 to 2017 he served as Vicar General of Rome. He is also the Archpriest emeritus of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

On 4 November 2017, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Vallini Pontifical Legate for the Basilicas of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Mary of the Angels, both in Assisi, Italy.

Angelo De Donatis

Angelo De Donatis (born 4 January 1954) is an Italian Catholic prelate who currently serves as Vicar General of Rome, Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.

He was the first person since the 16th century to be appointed Vicar General of Rome while not a cardinal. He initially held the rank of archbishop when appointed, until Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 28 June 2018.

António Martins de Chaves

António Martins de Chaves (died 6 July 1447) was a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was bishop of Porto in Portugal.

He was made cardinal on the 18 December 1439 by Pope Eugenius IV. He founded the church and hospice of San Antonio dei Portoghesi in 1440. Chaves was buried at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, where he was archpriest from 1444 to his death. His tomb was executed by Isaia da Pisa.

Augustus Tolton

Servant of God Augustus Tolton (April 1, 1854 – July 9, 1897), baptized Augustine Tolton, was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. (James Augustine Healy, ordained in 1854, and Patrick Francis Healy, ordained in 1864, were of mixed-race.) A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome.

He was ordained in Rome on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield), Tolton first ministered to his home parish in Quincy, Illinois. Later assigned to Chicago, Tolton led the development and construction of St. Monica's Catholic Church as a black "national parish church", completed in 1893 at 36th and Dearborn Streets on Chicago's South Side.

Charles Reynolds (cleric)

Charles Reynolds (c. 1496 – July 1535) was an Irish-born Catholic cleric. Born in County Leitrim, Reynolds entered a religious order and was appointed to influential posts as archdeacon and chaplain to the Earl of Kildare. His name in native Irish is Cathal Mac Raghnaill, but he anglicized his name to Charles Reynolds in order secure ecclesiastical benefices under English laws. He was educated at the University of Oxford and fluent in English, Irish, and Latin. Reynolds opposed Henry VIII of England's separation from the Catholic Church, declining to acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the Church of England and refusing to acknowledge the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

During the Kildare Rebellion of 1534–5 against King Henry, Reynolds was dispatched as envoy to Rome to seek support from the pope. In May 1535 he secured a papal promise to excommunicate King Henry of England.

Reynolds died of an "incurable fever" and was buried in Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on 15 July 1535. The inscription on his grave slab in Rome, gives accurate dates for his birth in Ireland, death in Rome, provides a family setting, and reveals the pope intended to consecrate him bishop.

Reynolds was posthumously attainted of high treason in 1536.

Clementine Chapel

The Clementine Chapel, also known as La Clementina, is a particular Roman Catholic chapel located within the underground necropolitan grottoes of Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It is the area where the relics of St. Peter were venerated in early medieval times, before his skull was removed to be housed at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Open today for pilgrims, the site venerates the original pavonazzo marble monument placed there by Emperor Constantine, and was used in early medieval times to house the skull of St. Peter


Duomo (English: , Italian: [ˈdwɔːmo]) is an Italian term for a church with the features of, or having been built to serve as, a cathedral, whether or not it currently plays this role. Monza Cathedral, for example, has never been a diocesan seat and is by definition not a cathedral. On the other hand, the city of Trevi no longer has a bishop, although it once did, and the erstwhile cathedral of Emilianus of Trevi is now a mere church. By contradistinction, the Italian word for a cathedral sensu stricto is cattedrale.

Many people refer to particular churches simply as il Duomo, "the Duomo", without regard to the full proper name of the church.

Similar words exist in other European languages: Dom (German), dom (Romanian), dóm (Hungarian and Slovak), dôme (French), domkirke (Danish and Norwegian), dómkirkja (Icelandic), domkyrka (Swedish), domo (Portuguese), doms (Latvian), toomkirik (Estonian), tum (Polish), tuomiokirkko (Finnish) and so on. Also in these languages the respective terms do not necessarily refer to a church functioning as a cathedral, but also to proto-cathedrals or simply prominent church buildings, which have never been a cathedral in the exact sense of that word. German Dom and Polish tum became the synecdoche used — pars pro toto — for most existing or former collegiate churches. Therefore, the uniform translation of these terms into English as "cathedrals" may not always be appropriate and should be used on a contextual basis.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Zingarelli, the word duomo derives from the Latin word domus, meaning "house", as a cathedral is the "house of God", or domus Dei. The Garzanti online dictionary also gives the etymology as deriving from "house", but "house of the bishop" instead.

Italian cathedrals are often highly decorated and contain notable artworks; in many cases the buildings themselves are true artworks. Perhaps the best known duomo is the one in Florence, but other well-known cathedrals include the Milan Cathedral, Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and those of Siena, Alba, Ancona, Mantua and Parma.

Ercole Bernabei

Ercole Bernabei (Caprarola (Latium), 1622 – Munich, 5 December 1687) was an Italian composer, chapel master and organist.

Bernabei was born in Caprarola, and became a pupil of Orazio Benevoli in Rome. From 1653 he served as organist at San Luigi dei Francesi as successor of Luigi Rossi. In July 1665 Bernabei was appointed maestro di cappella at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. And from 1672 to 1674 he hold this post at the Cappella Giulia in St. Peter's Basilica thanks to the protection of Christina, Queen of Sweden.

In Juli 1674 Bernabei and his pupil Agostino Steffani moved to Munich, where he superseded Johann Caspar von Kerll as Hofkapellmeister of Ferdinand Maria duke of Bavaria and an elector (Kurfürst) of the Holy Roman Empire.

His daughter married another expatriate Italian musician, Gio Paolo Bombarda.

He was father to the composer Giuseppe Antonio Bernabei (Rome, 1649 – Munich, 9 March 1732).

Ercole Bernabei died in Munich on 5 December 1687.

Humbert of Silva Candida

Humbert of Silva Candida, O.S.B., also known as Humbert of Moyenmoutier (between 1000 and 1015 – 5 May 1061), was a French Benedictine abbot and later a cardinal. It was his act of excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael I Cerularius in 1054 which is generally regarded as the precipitating event of the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Lateran Obelisk

The Lateran Obelisk is the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world, and it is also the tallest obelisk in Italy. It originally weighed 413 metric tons (455 tons), but after collapsing and being re-erected 4 meters (13 feet) shorter, now weighs around 300 metric tons (330 tons). It is located in the square across from the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital.

Lateran Palace

The Lateran Palace (Latin: Palatium Lateranense), formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum Lateranense), is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome.

Located on St. John's Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill, the palace is adjacent to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome. From the fourth century, the palace was the principal residence of the popes, and continued so for about a thousand years until the seat ultimately moved to the Vatican. The palace is now used by the Vatican Historical Museum, which illustrates the history of the Papal States. The palace also houses the offices of the Vicariate of Rome, as well as the residential apartments of the Cardinal Vicar, the pope's delegate for the daily administration of the diocese. Until 1970, the palace was also home to the important collections of the Lateran Museum, now dispersed among other parts of the Vatican Museums.

Following the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the palace and adjoining basilica are extraterritorial properties of the Holy See.

Major basilica

A major basilica (Latin: Basilica maior; plural: Basilicae maiores) is one of the four highest-ranking Roman Catholic church buildings, all of which are also papal basilicas: the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, St. Peter's Basilica, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. All of them are located within the diocese of Rome: St. Peter's Basilica is located in Vatican City and thus within the territory and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See. The other three are geographically located in Italian territory, but enjoy extraterritorial status under the Lateran Treaty. The Archbasilica of St. John in the Lateran is the seat of the Pope and the site of the Papal Cathedra, and is the oldest and first in rank of the major basilicas.

All other churches that have the title of basilica are minor basilicas (Latin: basilica minor).

Michael Smith (bishop)

Michael Smith (born 6 June 1940) is the retired Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, Ireland. He was ordained priest in the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on 9 March 1963 by Cardinal Traglia, Cardinal-Bishop of Albano. He celebrated his first mass on 10 March 1963 in the Clementine Chapel, located under the Altar at Papal Basilica of Saint Peter.

Neri Maria Corsini

For others of this name, see Neri Corsini (disambiguation).

Neri Maria Corsini (19 May 1685 – 6 December 1770) was an Italian nobleman and Catholic priest and cardinal.

Pompeo Targone

Pompeo Targone (1575 — ca. 1630), son of a Venetian goldsmith, was an Italian engineer in the service of popes Clement VIII and Paul V. He built the ciborium tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament chapel of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, and one of the altars in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.Targone gained notoriety for his inventiveness as a military engineer in the Siege of Ostend (1604) and the Siege of La Rochelle (1627-1628). Targone proposed to block the channel leading to the harbour of La Rochelle in order to stop all supplies to the city, but his structure was broken by the winter weather, before the idea was taken up by the Royal architect Clément Métezeau and the Parisian mason Jean Thiriau. Targone has also been credited with the invention of the field mill in Vittorio Zonca's treatise on mechanical arts.

Pomponio Cecci

Pomponio Cecci (died 1542) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.

San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital

The San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital (also known as Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni Addolorata), is a hospital located in Rome, Italy, behind the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. It is one of the biggest hospitals in Central Italy.

San Juan de Letrán (disambiguation)

San Juan de Letrán (Italian: Laterno o Laterano; English: Saint John Lateran) may refer to:

Colegio de San Juan de Letran, a Philippine Dominican institution

Metro San Juan de Letrán, a station in Mexico City

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome

Vincenzo Santucci

Vincenzo Santucci, also Vincenso Santucci (18 February 1796 - 19 August 1861) was an Italian cardinal, who spent his life serving in the Roman Curia.

Major basilicas
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