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The temple of stones is a symbol of the living church PDF Print E-mail

09 November 2014: The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

You are the temple of God

Basilica of St John Lateran, cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, Italy

Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion.

The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Saviour; only after the 6th century were the names of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter.

Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1).

Source: catholicculture.org | Image by pedro reis , http://www.ferras.at (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons