Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Archbasilica Of SS Johns In Lateran

So after Christianity was legalized, Constantine built (or converted) four large basilicas/churches in Rome in the early to mid 4th century: St. John Lateran, St. Mary Maggiore, St. Peters, and St Paul's Without the Walls. The original St. Peter's in gone, replaced by the current one; and St. Paul's was largely but faithfully rebuilt after a fire in the early 19th century. St. John Lateran and St. Mary Maggiore are pretty much the original Roman basilicas, if Baroque'n in later centuries. Apart from the architecture and antiquity, it is the mosaics that are of great age and interest in the two original basilicas. We last visited St. John in 2013, an abbreviated visit, since it was late, they were busy, etc. So while our clothes were being washed Saturday, we took the bus out to the Lateran. A second attraction was the Scala Sancti, the Holy Stairs, which we missed entirely in 2013: next post. Oh yes, the full and official name of this church is: the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World. Top that!
And there we are , after a long bus ride; "Lateran" refers not to
latitude or latte, but to the Lateranus family, whose estate
Constantine obtained, probably under some threat, way back
in the day; strange how the name Lateran has held on...

St. Peter's and the Vatican get all the attention, but St. John
Lateran is still the oldest of the Papal churches and still the
official seat of the Bishop of Rome

The Lateran Piazza features the tallest of
Rome's many Egyptian obelisks; this one a
trophy brought home by Augustus

An old aqueduct nearby...

Anyhow, there's the cathedral, small by Vatican standards, but
still pretty big; interestingly, it's named for both the Johns,
the Baptist and the Evangelist; this is pretty rare, IMHO; in
that Revelation was authored by at least three different hands,
it really is a plural St. Johns...
Knave view
Lined, both sides, by super-sized statues of the Apostles, done by
Team Bernini pupils
Chancel, etc.

The great half dome and mosaic are dark; but
light shines upon the cathedra of the Bishop of

They were preparing for a celebration, so the lights were out


In the south transept

A very limited souvenir shoppe (unlike the
Vatican, which is a huge Catholic shopping

Nonetheless, St. John's has its amenities, unlike many cathedrals

The humongous bronze doors, originally from
the Roman Senate

Humongous statue of Constantine, outside on
the porch; this is  about all the credit he gets;
his mom, St. Helen, got all the glory; evidently
pissed, he never officially converted and later
moved his capital to Constantinople; just a
few generations later, the Christian emperor
outlawed all other religions...

We tarried for perhaps an hour; a crowd of very well-dressed
people had gathered, no children, and so we were hoping
for maybe a wedding; wouldn't that be special? Alas, there were
no children because they were all in a holding tank elsewhere, 
not enduring the lengthy sermon and mass of Confirmation; 
here, a nun reads scripture; outside, it was pouring down rain, 
so we tarried further

Holy head-gear and all


Tawana said...

Wes is keenly interested in your comment about three different authors of the book of Revelation as opposed to just two.

Mark said...

Well, I'm not an infallible authority on this, but Elaine Pagels book, Revelations, is. I remember it as three, but maybe only two. Given all the translators, what comes to us has many authors, many angles, many agendas. The confused thoughts of ignorant men, as some say.

Tawana said...

Wes says he has Pagels' book and thinks that she is a traditionalist who thinks there was only one author, and that was John. Someday, you and he will have to have a long discussion about the Book of Revelation!

Rebecca said...

Baroque'n in. Ha!