I almost forgot we were still in the middle of a series on the Archbasilicas! St John Lateran is the oldest of the four patriarchal basilicas in Rome, and the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the pope. It was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I. As the cathedral of Rome, it stands as the cathedral of the world, the seat of all Christianity. The faithful of Rome are very blessed to have it as their cathedral! It has been the site of five Ecumenical councils and was the home to every pope from Miltiades the African to the time of Clement V’s move to Avignon.
The cathedra (Lat. “throne, teacher’s chair”) of the cathedral, it is quite literally the seat of Christianity in the world.
A close look reveals that papal imagery is found everywhere in the Lateran Basilica:
The 14th century Gothic baldacchino. The chamber on top contains reliquaries with the heads or part of the heads of Ss. Peter and Paul (according to legend, but if Rome has taught me anything, many legends are based on historical fact!):
A rare find, a bearded angel:
St. Bartholomew holds up his skin, peeled off at his martyrdom:
Across the street from the basilica lie the Scala Sancta, the stairs of Pontius Pilate’s praetorium, which the Lord ascended and descended during the Passion. His own blood fell on those stairs which pilgrims can climb up on their knees: