This is the oldest and ranks first among the four greater or patriarchal churches of Rome. It was originally the palace of Constantine, adapted and dedicated under the title “Our Savior” to serve as the church of the Pope. The present archbasilica was built later, on the side of the original church, and is known as St. John Lateran, having been dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
The other patriarchal basilicas of Rome are St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul’s, which is situated outside of the walls of the ancient city. These four basilicas represent the four great patriarchates, or ecclesiastical provinces, of the world. There are a number of churches in Rome and elsewhere that rank in honor as lesser basilicas but do not posses the special privileges of the greater basilicas.
PRAYER: God, out of living and chosen stones You prepare an eternal dwelling for Yourself. Multiply in Your Church the spirit of grace that You have given her, so that Your people may every grow into that building which is the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.