Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Rome, Italy

The famous Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is often referred to as the Lateran Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. John Lateran Basilica and sometimes St. John Lateran Archbasilica.

The gorgeous Basilica has an elevation of about 459 feet. Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the Roman cathedral church, thus it houses the ecclesiastical seat and the cathedral of the pontiff of Rome (pope).

The Basilica is the oldest church in the west and it is ranked above the other three major papal basilicas in the city of Rome. It is the Roman Catholic Faithfull’s ecumenical mother church. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran facade has an inscription which indicates that the basilica was dedicated originally to Christ the savior and it was co-dedicated some centuries later to St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist.

The present building of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran dates back to the middles of the 17th century when architect Francesco Borromini was commissioned by pope Innocent X to restore the weak old basilica. The north facade was constructed in the late 16th century by Domenico Fontana for the popes to stay and give their blessings. The main facade in the western part was later designed and added in the early 18th century by Alessandro Galilei. The north facade has astonishing twin loggia with lovely decorated ceilings. The double bell towers dated back to the 12th century. The eastern facade is topped with 15 gorgeous statues that were made of travertine. Each of the statues are seven meters high. The statues comprise of Jesus in the center, John the Evangelist, John the Baptist and very famous theologians of the church.

The narthex of the basilica has five ancient bronze doors, one for each nave. The door to the extreme right is known as the holy door. The door is opened only once in every 25 years (Holy Year). In the front of the left wall is displayed the statue of Emperor Constantine that was found at the site of Constantine Baths on the Quirinal Hill. The five naves of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran are separated by gorgeous columns that support magnificent arches. The columns of the main nave are complimented with statues of the Apostles.

There is more to see in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. The ancient basilica has ancient displays and the exhibitions are wildly admired by tourists.

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