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Basilica of St. John Lateran

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The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran) was built in the IV century on the land of the Laterani, a noble family from Rome whose properties became the Emperors properties under the reign of Nerone.

Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris (official name of the building) is the cathedral of the Roman diocese and the place in which the Pope carries out the function of Rome's Bishop. It is the first Christian cult location officially recognised and has the highest rank of the four main Basilica's (Basilica Vaticana, Basilica Ostiense, Basilica Liberiana). Hence it has been attributed with the honourary title of "Mother and chief of all the churches in the city of Rome and in the world". In 774, Carlo Magno was baptised there.

The most popular Golden Legend of the fourteenth century tells of a donation to Pope Silvestro 1st, following the apparition of Saints Peter and Paul in a dream had by Costantino.

In the medieval age is was repeatedly distroyed and reconstructed, however the facade as we know it today was designed by Alessandro Galilei who widened the central window with two small columns which sustain an arch in accordance with the design of the familiar Palladian windows.

Next to the Basilica there is the so-called Patriarchio (the residence of the Patriarch) which was almost completely substituted with the new Lateran Palace at the end of the XVI century under the guidance of Sisto V.

During the same period the facade of the transept was restored with a new Benediction Lodge, in honour of which architect Domenico Fontana erected the antique Lateran Obelisk.

Of the Basilica and the walls, the only part which still remains is the cloister which has a style which can be positioned between the Romanic and Gothic. Over the years the following have contributed to its restoration: Borromini, Gentile da Fabriano, and Pisanello.

With regard to tradition, according to the liturgical calendar, the feastday of the Dedication to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano falls on November 9th.

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