The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral church of Rome, whose full name is Papal Archbasilica and Cathedral of the Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in Lateran.
Born as a building for public meetings and for the administration of justice, with the spread of Christianity it is transformed into a majestic ecclesiastical structure, suitable to accommodate a large number of the faithful. The Basilica stands on the same site as the one built by Constantine, around 314, on land already owned by the noble Lateran family, from which the whole area takes its name. The primitive basilica, of which the present church follows approssimatively the plant, had five naves (like the ancient St. Peter's) and for almost a thousand years, from its foundation to the Avignon period, it was the most important church in Christendom, centre of the papal power and residence of the pontiff.
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