Earlier on our Instagram profile, we have shown one of our neighbors.
And now here as well, in a nutshell about him. He is very silent and peaceful, he never disturbs us. Every day in every hour he plays magic chimes. He is very-very old and has several experiences and stories from the last centuries. He is very stable, reliable, we can trust him any time.
So, who is he? He is Archbasilica of St. John Lateran!
Some interesting facts and numbers about him:
- This is the most ancient church in the world and ranks first among the four great “patriarchal” basilicas of Rome. It was built under pope Melchiade (311-314). The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani.
- Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran – being seat of the bishop’s residence – is also Rome’s Cathedral. 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 Catholic basilicas, it is titled Archbasilica.
- The present structure of the Basilica resembles the Saint Peter’s basilica.
- The Archbasilica is located within the City of Rome but is outside the boundaries of Vatican City proper, which is located approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) to the northwest, in another part of Rome. While the Archbasilica and its adjoining buildings enjoy extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the Archbasilica is within Italian territory and not that of the Vatican City State.
- During the history several times it was destroyed by fires, earthquake.
- The ancient church was residence of the popes until the coming back from the exile in Avignone (1377), when it was moved to the Vatican.
- 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.
- 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 winner of the competition was Alessandro Galilei.
- Inside there are twelve sculptures of the Apostles, of greater than life-size, to fill the niches, the commission was opened to all the premier sculptors of late Baroque Rome.
- There are six extant Papal tombs inside the Archbasilica
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is open daily from 7:00 to 19:00, while in winter only until 18:00.
(sources: Wikipedia & newadvent.org)