Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Basilica of St John Lateran

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On Tuesday morning, we got up early again and headed out for a full day of exploring the city. We started at the Basilica of St John Lateran. I spent a little extra time wandering around intside while Pelagia explored the big open air market that takes place just around the corner. (She even found something!) ( ;

As I mentioned before, St John Lateran is the official seat of the Pope, although the Papacy is now headquartered at St Peter’s.

The basilica is called ‘Lateran’ because it was originally a palace belonging to a noble Roman family of that name. Around 60 AD, it fell into the hands of the Roman Emperors, until Emperor Constantine gave it to the Church. A synod, convened to discuss the Donatist heresy, was held here in 313.

In its post-schism history, this basilica held the five Lateran Councils, which the Roman Catholic Church considers ecumenical.

The top photo is taken from the front of the basilica.

The second photo is taken from the front of the church. The altar is to the immediate left (not shown) and the podium is directly in front.

The third photo is of the apse, which features beautiful Byzantine-style iconography.

The bottom photo is of a side chapel located in the northeast corner, facing north (the main part of the church always looks toward the east).

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