Friday, November 9, 2012

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Basilica, Philippians 3:3-8, Psalms 84:3-11, John 2,13-22, Saint Benignus of Armagh, Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Friday, November 9, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:
Basilica, Philippians 3:3-8, Psalms 84:3-11, John 2,13-22, Saint Benignus of Armagh,  Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you." 

October 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call." ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

October 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children; I am calling you and am coming among you because I need you. I need apostles with a pure heart. I am praying, and you should also pray, that the Holy Spirit may enable and lead you, that He may illuminate you and fill you with love and humility. Pray that He may fill you with grace and mercy. Only then will you understand me, my children. Only then will you understand my pain because of those who have not come to know the love of God. Then you will be able to help me. You will be my light-bearers of God’s love. You will illuminate the way for those who have been given eyes but do not want to see. I desire for all of my children to see my Son. I desire for all of my children to experience His Kingdom. Again I call you and implore you to pray for those whom my Son has called. Thank you."
~ Blessed Virgin Mary


Today's Word:  basilica  ba·sil·i·ca [buh-sil-i-kuh]

Origin:  1535–45;  < Latin  < Greek basilikḗ  hall, short for basilikḗ oikía  royal house. See basilic
1. an early Christian or medieval church of the type built especially in Italy, characterized by a plan including a nave, two or four side aisles, a semicircular apse, a narthex, and often other features, as a short transept, a number of small semicircular apses terminating the aisles, or an atrium. The interior is characterized by strong horizontality, with little or no attempt at rhythmic accents. All spaces are usually covered with timber roofs or ceilings except for the apse or apses, which are vaulted.
2. one of the seven main churches of Rome or another Roman Catholic church accorded the same religious privileges.
3. (in ancient Rome) a large oblong building used as a hall of justice and public meeting place.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11

3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its young: your altars, Yahweh Sabaoth, my King and my God.
4 How blessed are those who live in your house; they shall praise you continually. Pause
5 Blessed those who find their strength in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of the Balsam, they make there a water-hole, and -- a further blessing -- early rain fills it.
8 Yahweh, God Sabaoth, hear my prayer, listen, God of Jacob.
11 For Yahweh God is a rampart and shield, he gives grace and glory; Yahweh refuses nothing good to those whose life is blameless.


Today's Epistle -  Philippians 3:3-8

3 We are the true people of the circumcision since we worship by the Spirit of God and make Christ Jesus our only boast, not relying on physical qualifications,
4 although, I myself could rely on these too. If anyone does claim to rely on them, my claim is better.
5 Circumcised on the eighth day of my life, I was born of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. In the matter of the Law, I was a Pharisee;
6 as for religious fervour, I was a persecutor of the Church; as for the uprightness embodied in the Law, I was faultless.
7 But what were once my assets I now through Christ Jesus count as losses.
8 Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ


Today's Gospel Reading - John 2,13-22

When the time of the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there. Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers' coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, 'Take all this out of here and stop using my Father's house as a market.' Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: I am eaten up with zeal for your house. The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us that you should act like this?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?' But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said.

• Context. Our passage contains a clear and unmistakable teaching of Jesus in the Temple. Previously John the Baptist had given witness of Jesus saying that He was the Messiah (1, 29); the first disciples, on the indication of the Baptist, have recognized him as the Lamb of God, a quality of the Messiah: to inaugurate a new Passover and covenant, to bring about the definitive liberation of man (Jn 1, 35-51); in Cana, Jesus works a first sign to show his glory (Jn 2, 1-12): the glory becomes visible, it can be contemplated, therefore, it manifests itself. It is the glory of the Father present in the person of Jesus and which manifests itself at the beginning of his activity, in this way, anticipating his “hour” (17, 1). In what way is his glory manifested? God restores gratuitously with man a new relationship; he unites him intimately to him giving him the capacity to love like He loves, through the Spirit who purifies the heart of man and makes him son of God. But, it is necessary to recognize the immutable love of God, manifested in Jesus, responding with faith, with a personal adherence.

• Jesus and the Temple. Now Jesus is in Jerusalem, in the Temple fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi (Ml 3, 1-3), he proclaims himself Messiah. Such a presence of Jesus is above all his teaching that produces tension. Now, the reader understands how the great disputes with the Jews always take place in the Temple; in this place Jesus pronounces his substantial denunciations; his task is to lead the people outside the Temple (2, 15; 10, 4). In last instance Jesus was condemned because he represented a danger for the Temple and for the people. Jesus goes to Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover of the Jews: it is clamorous to manifest himself in public and to reveal to all that he is the Messiah. During that feast Jerusalem is full of pilgrims who have come from all parts and therefore his actions would have had a great effect in the whole of Palestine. When he arrived in Jerusalem he immediately is seen in the Temple where there are a number of people selling cattle, sheep and doves and the money changers sitting there. The encounter in the Temple is not with persons who seek God but dealers of the sacred: the amount paid to be able to open a stand to be able to sell was given to the high priest. Jesus chooses this occasion (the Passover) this place (the Temple) to give a sign. He takes a whip, an instrument which was a symbol of the Messiah who punishes vices and evil practices, and he drives out everybody from the Temple, together with the cattle and sheep. Worthy to be noted is his act against those selling the doves (v. 15). The dove was an animal used for the propitiatory holocausts (Lv 9, 14-17), in the sacrifices of expiation and of purification (Lv 12, 8; 15, 14.29), especially if those who offered it were poor (Lv 5, 7; 14, 22. 30ff). The sellers, those who sold the doves, that is to say, sold reconciliation with God for money.

• The house of my Father. The expression wants to indicate that Jesus in his actions behaves as a Son. He represents the Father in the world. They have transformed the worship of God into a market, a place for trading. The Temple is no longer the place of encounter with God, but a market where the presence of money is in force. Worship has become the pretext to gain more. Jesus attacks the central institution of Israel, the temple: the symbol of the people and of the election. He denounces that the Temple has been deprived of its historical function: to be the sign of the dwelling of God in the midst of his people. The first reaction to Jesus’ action comes from the disciples who associate this to Psalm 69, 10: “I am eaten up with zeal for your house”. The second reaction comes from the high priests who respond in the name of those selling in the Temple: “What sign can you show us that you should act like this?” (v.18). They have asked him for a sign; he gives them that of his death: “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). Jesus is the Temple that assures of the presence of God in the world, the presence of his love; the death on the cross will make of him the only and definite Temple of God. The Temple constructed by the hands of man has fallen into decay; Jesus will be the one to substitute it, because He is now the presence of God in the world; the Father is present in Him.

Personal questions• Have you understood that the sign of love of God for you is no longer the temple but a Person: Jesus crucified?
• Do you not know that this sign is turned to you personally to bring about your definitive liberation?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Benignus of Armagh

Feast Day:  November 9
Patron Saint:  Connacht,, Ireland

Saint Benigius of Armagh
Saint Benignus of Armagh (died 467) was the son of Sesenen, an Irish chieftain in that part of Ireland which is now County Meath. He was baptised into the Catholic faith by St. Patrick, and became his favourite disciple and his coadjutor in the Diocese of Armagh around AD 450. His gentle and lovable disposition suggested the name Benen, which has been Latinised as Benignus.

He followed his master in all his travels, and assisted him in his missionary labours, giving assistance in the formation of choral services. From his musical acquirements he was known as "Patrick's psalm-singer". St. Benignus is said not only to have assisted in compiling the great Irish code of Laws, or Senchus Mor, but also to have contributed materials for the "Psalter of Cashel", and the "Book of Rights". He was present at the synod which passed the canon recognising "the See Of the Apostle Peter" as the final court of appeal in difficult cases, this canon is to be found in the Book of Armagh. St. Benignus resigned his coadjutorship in 467 and died at the close of the same year. His feast is celebrated on November 9.

His foundation of Kilbennan in East Galway, close to Tuam, made him the patron of Connacht.
Most authorities have identified St. Patrick's psalm-singer with the St. Benignus who founded Kilbannon, near Tuam, but it is certain, from Tirechán's collections in the Book of Armagh, that St. Benignus of Armagh and St. Benignus of Kilbannon were two distinct persons. The former is described as son of Sesenen of County Meath, whilst the latter was son of Lugni of Connaught, yet both were contemporaries. St. Benignus of Kilbannon had a famous monastery, where St. Jarlath was educated, and he also presided over Drumlease. His sister, Mathona, was Abbess of Tawney, in Tirerrill. In Cavan, he established a monastery on Drom Benen (hill of Benan), today's Drumbannon, and also in cill benen (church of Benan), today's Kilbonane, West Cork.

In Easter 433, Patrick clashed with king Laoghaire at Tara over religion, and legend has it that, a trial by fire was proposed. A pagan druid and Benignus were tied inside a burning timber building, the former was reduced to ash while Benignus was untouched, at this turning point Christian teaching was established.


      • Catholic Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia Press. 1913. p. 549. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
      • Dumville, David N. "Auxilius, Iserninus, Secundinus and Benignus." In Saint Patrick, AD 493-1993, ed. by David N. Dumville and Lesley Abrams. Studies in Celtic history 13. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993. pp. 89–105. ISBN 0-85115-332-1.


          Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


          Today's  Snippet  I:  Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

          Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
          The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (Italian: Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano), commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope.

          It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome (having the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome). It claims the title of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics. The current archpriest is Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome. The President of the French Republic, currently François Hollande, is ex officio the "first and only honorary canon" of the basilica, a title held by the heads of the French state since King Henry IV of France.

          An inscription on the façade, Christo Salvatori, indicates the church's dedication to "Christ the Saviour", for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.

          The archbasilica is located outside of the boundaries of Vatican City proper, although within the city of Rome. However it enjoys extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See. This is also the case with several other buildings, following the resolution of the Roman Question with the signing of the


          The archbasilica's name in Latin is Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sanctorum Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano, which translates in English as Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Ss. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran. In Italian, the basilica's name translates as Arcibasilica del Santissimo Salvatore e Santi Giovanni Battista ed Evangelista in Laterano.

          Lateran Palace

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

          The rest of the site was occupied during the early Roman Empire by the palace of the gens Laterani. The Laterani served as administrators for several emperors; Sextius Lateranus was the first plebeian to attain the rank of consul. 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. The actual date of the gift is unknown but scholars believe it had to have been 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 as 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 bishops of Rome.

          The Middle Ages

          The official dedication of the Basilica and the adjacent Lateran Palace was presided over by Pope Sylvester I in 324, declaring both to be Domus Dei or "House of God." In its interior, the Papal Throne was placed, making it the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. In reflection of the basilica's claim to primacy in the world as "mother church", the words Sacrosancta Lateranensis ecclesia omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput (meaning "Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head") are incised in the front wall between the main entrance doors.

          The nave of San Giovanni in Laterano.
          The Lateran Palace and basilica have been rededicated twice. Pope Sergius III dedicated them to Saint John the Baptist in the 10th century in honor of the newly consecrated baptistry of the Basilica. Pope Lucius II dedicated the Lateran Palace and basilica to Saint John the Evangelist in the 12th century. However, St. John Baptist and St. John the Evangelist are regarded as co-patrons of the Cathedral, the chief patron being Christ the Saviour himself, as the inscription in the entrance of the Basilica indicates, and as is tradition in the patriarchal cathedrals.

          Thus, the Basilica remains dedicated to the Saviour, and its titular feast is the Transfiguration. That is why sometimes the Basilica will be referred to by the full title of Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and of Sts. John Baptist and John Evangelist in the Lateran. The church became the most important shrine in honor of the two saints, not often jointly venerated. In later years, a Benedictine monastery was established at the Lateran Palace, devoted to serving the basilica as a devotional to the two saints.

          Every pope from Miltiades occupied the Lateran Palace until the reign of the French Pope Clement V, who in 1309 decided to transfer the official seat of the Catholic Church to Avignon, a papal fief that was an enclave within France. The Lateran Palace has also been the site of five Ecumenical councils. See Lateran councils.

          Lateran fires

          During the Avignon papacy, the Lateran Palace and the basilica began to decline. Two destructive fires ravaged the Lateran Palace and the basilica, in 1307 and 1361. In both cases, the Avignon papacy sent money to their bishops in Rome to cover the costs of reconstruction and maintenance. Despite those actions the Lateran Palace and the basilica lost their former splendor.

          When the Avignon papacy formally ended and the Pope again resided in Rome, the Lateran Palace and the basilica were deemed inadequate considering the accumulated damage. The popes took up residency 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, that already existed at the Vatican since the time of Constantine), and the papacy moved in; the papacy remains there today.


          The Loggia delle Benedizioni, on the back left side. Annexed, on the left, is the Lateran Palace.
          There were several attempts at reconstruction of the basilica before Pope Sixtus V's definitive project. Sixtus hired his favorite architect Domenico Fontana to oversee much of the project. The original Lateran Palace was torn down and replaced with a new building. On the square in front of the Lateran Palace is the largest standing obelisk in the world, known as the Lateran Obelisk (weight estimated at 455 tons). Its manufacture was started by Thutmose III and it was erected by Thutmose IV before the great Karnak temple of Thebes, Egypt.

          Intended by Constantine I to be shipped to Constantinople, the very pre-occupied Constantius II had it shipped instead to Rome, where it was re-erected in the Circus Maximus in 357. At some time it broke and was buried under the Circus. In the 16th century it was located and dug up, and Sixtus V had it re-erected on a new pedestal on August 3, 1588 on its present site.

          Further renovation on the interior of the basilica ensued under the direction of Francesco Borromini, commissioned by Pope Innocent X. The twelve niches created by his architecture came to be filled by 1718 with statues of the apostles, using the most prominent Roman Rococo sculptors.

          The vision of Pope Clement XII for reconstruction was an ambitious one: he launched a competition to design a new façade. Over 23 architects, mostly working in the current Baroque idiom competed. 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. Galilei's façade removed all vestiges of traditional ancient basilica architecture, and imparted a neo-classical facade.

          Architectural history

          The Papal cathedra, which makes this basilica the cathedral of Rome, is located in the apse. The decorations are in cosmatesque style.

          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 three-part mosaic of its niche. In the centre Christ gives their mission to the Apostles, on the left he gives the keys to St. Sylvester and the Labarum to Constantine, while on the right St. Peter gives the papal stole to Leo III and the standard to Charlemagne.

          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 basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was published of real value or importance.

          A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the Liber Pontificalis, and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Basilica. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. Pope Leo I restored it around 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 in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This second church lasted for four hundred years, and then burned in 1308. It was rebuilt by Pope Clement V and Pope John XXII. It was burned down once more in 1360, and was rebuilt by Pope Urban V.

          The decorated ceiling of the Basilica.
          Through vicissitudes the basilica 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. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ, the Saviour 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 the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" of the Papal States to the Church. Inside the basilica the colmns 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 Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been added, long before this, at Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Probably at this time the church was enlarged.

          Some portions of the older buildings survive. Among them the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and Saint Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino 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 unsavoury name to the anthem sung at the papal enthronement, "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 basilica. These before long were incorporated in the church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, 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 basilica, 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 provides 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.

          Holy Steps

          The Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), wooden steps that encase white marble steps, are, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the staircase leading once to the praetorium of Pilate at Jerusalem, hence 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 complex of palaces that became the ancient seat of popes in the 4th century is credited to Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine I.

          In 1589, Pope Sixtus V relocated the steps to their present location in front of the ancient palatine chapel (the Sancta Sanctorum). Ferraù Fenzoni completed some of the frescoes on the walls.

          Lateran cloister

          Between the basilica and the city wall there was in former times the great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the basilica. 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 baptistry

          The octagonal Lateran Baptistry stands somewhat apart from the basilica. It was founded by Pope Sixtus III, perhaps on an earlier structure, for a legend grew up that Constantine I had been baptized there and enriched the structure. (He was actually baptised in the East, by an Arian bishop.) This baptistry was for many generations the only baptistry 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, "The fountain of Life"

          Papal tombs

          The Helena sarcophagus, reused by Anastasius IV, the only tomb to survive the Lateran fires (currently in the Vatican Museums)
          There are six extant papal tombs inside the basilica: Alexander III (right aisles), Sergius IV (right aisles), Clement XII Corsini (left aisle), Martin V (in front of the confessio); Innocent III (right transept); and Leo XIII (left transept), by G. Tadolini (1907). The last of these was the last pope not to be entombed in St. Peter's Basilica.

          A dozen additional papal tombs were constructed in the basilica starting in the 10th century, but were destroyed during two fires that ravaged the basilica in 1308 and 1361. The remains of these charred tombs were gathered and reburied in a polyandrum. The popes of the destroyed tombs were: Pope John X (914 - 928), Pope Agapetus II (946 - 955), Pope John XII (955- 964), Pope Paschal II (1099–1118), Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124), Pope Honorius II (1124–1130), Pope Celestine II (1143–1144), Pope Lucius II (1144–1145), Pope Anastasius IV (1153–1154), Pope Clement III (1187–1191), Pope Celestine III (1191–1198), Pope Innocent V (1276).

          Popes during this period whose tombs are unknown and who may have been buried in the Lateran basilica include: Pope John XVII (1003), Pope John XVIII (1003–1009), and Pope Alexander II (1061–1073).

          John X was the first pope buried within the walls of Rome, granted such a prominent burial due to rumors that he was murdered by Theodora, during a historical period known as the Pornocracy. Cardinals Vincenso Santucci and Carlo Colonna are also buried in this church.

          Twelve Apostles

          One of the sculptures of the Twelve Apostles in the niches of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It shows Matthew, the tax collector.
          The twelve niches created by Borromini's architecture were left empty for decades until 1703 when Pope Clement XI encouraged the completion of the decoration, by sponsoring a competition to select the designs for larger-than-life sculptures of the apostles.

          The chosen sculptural designs were by some of the most prominent late baroque sculptors in Rome, including:
          • Camillo Rusconi
          James the Greater
          John the Evangelist
          • Francesco Moratti
          Simon the Zealot
          • Angelo de' Rossi
          James the Less
          • Giuseppe Mazzuoli
          • Lorenzo Ottoni
          • Pierre-Étienne Monnot
          • Pierre Le Gros the Younger

          Roman Catholic Liturgy

          In the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, November 9 is the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran (Dedicatio Basilicae Lateranensis), often referred to in older missals as the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Saviour (or the holy Saviour). In view of its role as the mother church of the whole inhabited world, this feast day is celebrated as a Feast in the present universal calendar of the Catholic Church.


              • Barnes, Arthur S. (1913). "Saint John Lateran". 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 (Corpus cosmatorum II, 2). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 3-515-09073-8.
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