Basilica of
St. John Lateran

Mother and First of all Churches
in Rome and in the World


In the first century A.D., the first Popes chose the Lateran as their residence. They continued to live there until they were exiled to Avignon in 1305.


Left - The Tabernacle - built in 1367 by Pope Urban V contains the venerable relics of both St. Peter and St. Paul, the unpolished wooden table where Popes from St. Peter to St. Sylvester (4th century) are said to have officiated, and a piece of cedar wood believed to have been preserved from the very table where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his apostles in Jerusalem.


In about 335 A.D., the mother of Constantine - Empress St. Helen - when she was in her eighties traveled to Jerusalem to bring back relics of Christ's Passion. She returned with twenty-eight marble steps taken from the Via Dolorosa. The steps are now covered with wood for protection, and Christians have climbed those steps on their knees for centuries.


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