Façade of Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy

What is the highest-ranking church in the Catholic religion? If you guessed Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, you are off by about 2.5 miles. The answer is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran. This is also the cathedral of the pope. The papal basilica is owned by the Holy See despite being located in Italian territory. And because it was consecrated in 324 AD, it is the Western Hemisphere’s oldest basilica. Surprisingly, this façade by architect Alessandro Galilei was finished over 1,400 years later in 1735. The co-patrons are Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. This amazing major basilica – only one of four in the world – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

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