Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lenten Stational Church in Rome

Thursday of Holy Week
The Basilica of St. John Lateran

The oldest and the first of the great Patriarchal Churches of Rome, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, rests on the site of the home of one of the first Christian families, the Lateranis.  In the days of the earliest Christians, the church, dedicated to Our Saviour, was known as"Basilica Salvatoris"  and was only later dedicated to St. John.  Being adjoined to the earliest and the most splendid of the early basilicas, the magnificent Palace of the Lateran, the home of the second wife of Constantine and donated by by that royal couple in the fourth century, was the residence of the popes for a thousand years of the history of the Church.  Unfortunately, due to the destruction done by a series of fires and the the confusion of the abandonment of Rome during the Babylonian Captivity, the popes moved away from St. John Lateran, changing their residence first to Santa Maria in Trastevere, then to Santa Maria Maggiore, and then, finally and permanently to  current home at the Vatican.
Of the many masterpieces and relics of note within the basilica, the most awe inspiring has to be the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), the marble staircase leading to the praetorium of Pilate in Jerusalem.  Moved from Jerusalem to Rome by St. Helen, these steps were sanctified by the footsteps of Jesus during His Passion. The marble stairs are accessed through openings in the wooden risers which are built around it to protect the precious relic from the thousands of pilgrims who come annually.  

For the complete history of the basilica, you can go here.  And, following is a short video documentary of St. John Lateran:

1 comment:

Blessings each day said...

How beautiful...thank you for your research on this, Lisa.

blessings and peaceful hugs,