The World

St. John Lateran celebrates 1700 years

Mother and head of all the Churches of Rome and of the world, the Basilica of St. John Lateran celebrates its 1700th anniversary. The celebrations officially began on Thursday, November 9, the Solemnity of the dedication of the Basilica.

Antonino Piccione-November 20, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

Ciborium of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome ©CC Paco Gómez

Mother and head of all the Churches of Rome and the world, the Basilica of St. John Lateran celebrates 1700 years. "Mother" because "the Church is always mother, no one can invent the faith or save herself," said Cardinal De Donatis during the presentation press conference. And it is also "head" because it was Christ himself who entrusted this task to Peter. St. John Lateran "is the house of the Church of Rome where the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, has his chair, the seat from which he does not proclaim his own ideas but the Word of Jesus," the cardinal said, recalling that the last four popes, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis have always "insisted" that the Pope is first and foremost the Bishop of Rome.

The celebrations officially began on Thursday, November 9, the Solemnity of the dedication of the Basilica, with a Mass presided over by the Cardinal Vicar himself. The Lateran Chapter has promoted numerous initiatives, leading up to the Jubilee of 2025.

Among the first appointments in the calendar of the festive year, for which the Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree on the granting of plenary indulgence, will be a series of meetings (Nov. 14-21-28 and Dec. 5) curated by Msgr. Andrea Lonardo on the theme "From Constantine to the Avignon Exile," with visits to the guesthouse, the apse and the excavations. On December 17, at 9:00 p.m., the traditional Christmas Concert of the Choir of the Diocese of Rome will be held. On Saturday, January 20, 2024, there will be a meeting on the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum", and on the following day, Word Sunday, a Bible will be given away at the end of each Mass, accompanied by an invitation to read it as a family.

Beginning on February 18, the first Sunday of Lent, the parishes of Rome belonging to the prefectures of the diocese will make a Lenten pilgrimage to the baptistery and the cathedral until Palm Sunday to retrace the itinerary of Christian initiation. On April 7, Sunday "in albis", there will be a celebration to relive the baptismal dimension of Easter.

In addition to the Pontifical Mass, a "Concert of the Ascension" is scheduled for May 12 at 9:00 p.m., directed by Msgr:00 h, conducted by Monsignor Frisina; on June 2, on the occasion of Corpus Christi, there will be a procession with the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel - it is also the 50th anniversary of the institution of Perpetual Adoration promoted in 1974 by Cardinal Poletti -; on June 24, solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist, solemn Vespers will be prayed, while on November 1, at 21.00 hours, will take place the concert "In hoc signo. Quadri di vita costantiniana" by the choir of the Diocese of Rome. The celebrations will conclude on November 9, 2024 with the Pontifical Office at 5:30 pm. The basilica will be open to visitors throughout the day.

It should also be noted that five ecumenical councils have been held in the basilica. On the occasion of the anniversary celebrations, the Office for School Pastoral Care and the Teaching of the Catholic Religion of the Diocese of Rome is organizing a competition entitled "The Lateran Basilica between Faith and History", aimed at schools of all levels in the diocese.

The aim is to promote the historical and cultural knowledge that the basilica has represented and continues to represent as Rome's cathedral, "Mater et Caput". "In these seventeen centuries," observes the director of the Office, Rosario Chiarazzo, "the Lateran Basilica has been and is the center of numerous events that have marked and continue to mark the civil and religious fabric of the city of Rome and of all of Christendom." The students will be entrusted with the task of expressing, with their own sensitivity through new technologies, some characteristic aspects of this long history".

The authorAntonino Piccione

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