Day V. Sunday, Week I.
"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the
mouth of God" (Communion Antiphon for today - Mt 4:4)
San Giovanni in Laterano. Saint John Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome, one
of the four major basilicas, site of five ecumenical councils, home of the
popes until 1304 when they left for Avignon, and the first church to be
dedicated to the Holy Redeemer (324). The Lateran family property was
given to Pope Merchiades (311-314) by Constantine shortly after his
conversion (10/28/312). Pope Sylvester I (314-335) built and consecrated
the basilica in 324. During the consecration, a bust of the Lord appeared
in the apse for all to see. Centuries later, it was placed under the
additional patronage of Saints John the Baptist (10th C) and John the
Evangelist (12th C).
The papal altar contains the relic of the original altar said to have been
used by Saint Peter and the early Popes. Above it is the relics of the
heads of both Saints Peter and Paul. It is no wonder it is considered "the
Mother and Head of all the churches in the City and in the World (omnium
urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput).