18OCT 2016 (Tuesday). ROME. (Day 16)
At 6AM a wake up was made by the hotel; breakfast was served at 7AM; and then departed from the hotel at around 8:30AM bound for St. John Lateran Basilica for our Mass and a visit but instead our Mass was celebrated at Scala Santa (Holy Stairs). We reached St. John Lateran Basilica at 8:50AM.
Basilica of St. John Lateran was founded during the fourth century in honor of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. St John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the Cathedral of Rome and the most important of the four major basilicas. It is known as St John Lateran Archbasilica, as is it considered the mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful in the sense that it is the cathedral of the Pope who is also the bishop of Rome and houses the cathedra, or ecclesiastical seat.
The Lateran Palace was handed over by Constantine I to the Bishop of Rome, who
converted the building into a temple during the fourth century. The Basilica is the oldest church in Europe.
According to Rome.net that in the early part of the fourth century, the Laterani family were stripped of their land as one of their members was accused of conspiring against the Emperor. It was given to the Bishop of Rome in order to build the first Roman basilica.
Throughout the centuries, St John Lateran has survived several fires and an earthquake in 897. Nevertheless, it still maintains its first form even though it has been reconstructed on several occasions. Near the Archbasilica there was a monastery, which has completely disappeared now; the only part still standing is its beautiful cloister from the thirteenth century. The Basilica also houses a baptistery, which for many years was the only baptistery in Rome.
The Basilica of St. John Lateran has played an important role throughout history. Iit was here that all popes were enthroned up until 1870. Nowadays, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno is where the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, celebrates Holy Thursday Mass.
Rome.net continued that its interior design, the two-story portico on the Basilica’s main façade was constructed during the eighteenth century, and it is where the Pope blesses the congregation on Holy Thursday. On the top part of the façade visitors will see imposing statues of the Apostles and Jesus, also dating from the eighteenth century.
The central doors made of bronze were previously used at the Roman Senate House (the Curia Julia) within the Roman Forum.
The Basilica’s interior is magnificent with colossal statues, mosaics and frescoes from the ceiling to the ground, with impressive columns.
After our visit in St. John Lateran, we proceeded to Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) for a
visitation and Mass. The Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) is located near the Lateran Basilica. These are renowned because it is believed that Jesus Christ stepped on them during His Passion. They were relocated from Jerusalem to Rome in 326 by St. Helena.
The Scala Sancta (English: Holy Stairs, Italian: Scala Santa) are a set of 28 white marble steps that are Roman Catholic relics located in an edifice on extraterritorial property of the Holy See in Rome, Italy. Officially, the edifice is titled the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (Pontificio Santuario della Scala Santa). The Holy Stairs, which long ago were encased in a protective framework of wooden steps, are in an edifice that incorporates part of the old, Papal Lateran Palace. The Holy Stairs lead to the Church of St. Lawrence in Palatio ad Sancta Sanctorum (Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Palatio ad Sancta Sanctorum) or simply the “Sancta Sanctorum” (English: Holy of Holies), which was the personal chapel of the early Popes. For centuries, the Scala Sancta has attracted Christian pilgrims who wish to honor the Passion of Jesus Christ.
The Mass at Scala Santa started at 10:15AM and ended at around 10:48AM. We left Scala Santa at 11:15, proceeded to the famous Roman Colosseum and arrived there at around 11:35AM and have some pictures. At this time we were not allowed to enter the Colosseum because of its renovation.
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (AD 81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).
The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles (for only a short time as the hypogeum was soon filled in with mechanisms to support the other activities), animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.
Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and also has links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit “Way of the Cross” procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.
We left the Colosseum at around 12:01PM to visit the St. Mary Major Basilica and arrived at the Basilica at 12:05PM. Before we visit this basilica, we visited first a church where the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is enthroned.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor) is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon. The icon has been in Rome since 1499, and is permanently enshrined in the church of Sant’ Alfonso di Liguori, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help text is prayed weekly. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this artistic iconography is known as the Virgin of the Passion or Theotokos of the Passion due to the instruments of the Passion present on the image.
The feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is celebrated on June 27, with novena devotions held every Wednesday. Under Pope Pius XII’s Pontificate, our Mother of Perpetual Help was designated as the national Patroness of the Republic of Haiti and Almoradi, Spain.
After our visitation in this church, we proceeded to St. Mary Major Basilica by way of
walking because it’s near to the church we visited first. The Basilica of St. Mary Major is also known in Italian as the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore. It is the largest Roman Catholic Marian Church in Rome. Many other churches are dedicated to Mother Mary but the Basilica of St. Mary Major gave justice to its name because of its grandeur, not only in size but also regarding its art and architecture.
The title “basilica” is such an honor that it can only be given through an apostolic grant or from an immemorial custom. To date, there are only four basilicas in Rome namely the St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and the St. Mary Major.
Although located outside the gates of the Vatican City at the Piazza del Esquillino, the Basilica of St. Mary Major is owned by the Holy Seat. In fact, the basilica is guarded not by the Italian police but by the police agents of the Vatican City.
According to Rome sightseeing and Popular Attractions, although located outside the gates of the Vatican City at the Piazza del Esquillino, the Basilica of St. Mary Major is owned by the Holy Seat. In fact, the basilica is guarded not by the Italian police but by the police agents of the Vatican City.
Through the years, this basilica was able to maintain its original structure; however enhancements were added over the years. The mosaics are still the original mosaics that were painted since its construction in 431. History agrees that the basilica was commissioned by Pope Sixtus III, based on the inscription found on the triumphal arch. The basilica was also built in commemoration of the Council of Ephesus proclaiming Mary as the Mother of God.
Frescoes fill the ceilings designed by Giuliano da Sangallo and originated from the 16th century. On the triumphal arch, a mosaic portrays the story of Jesus’ birth, the annunciation of Angel Gabriel to Mary, the infanticide by order of King Herod, and the calling of the apostles. At the leftmost door, you will find the Porta Santa (Holy Door). This is only opened during the Holy Year.
Long before the earliest traces of the story of the miraculous snow, the church now known as Saint Mary Major was called Saint Mary of the Crib, a name it was given because of its relic of the crib or manger of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, four boards of sycamore wood believed to have been brought to the church, together with a fifth, in the time of Pope Theodore I (640–649). This name appears in the Tridentine editions of the Roman Missal as the place for the pope’s Mass (the station Mass) on Christmas Night, while the name “Mary Major” appears for the church of the station Mass on Christmas Day.
This basilica is also where the Dutch princess Irene married Charles Hugo of Bourbon-Parma in April 24, 1964. And the bell tower stands 75 meters all and is the highest in Rome.
We left St. Mary Major Basilica at 12:51PM (Italian time) for Trevi Fountain; took pictures at the Trevi Fountain. And at this time, it was raining. Then we had our lunch at the Gregorian University canteen, opposite the University is Pontifical Biblical University where Fr. Ramil Nerio studies Scriptures.
The Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain.
During lunch, Fr Nerio joined us until 2:20PM. After lunch we went to Pantheon (or the temple of every god), that is, dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church called Basilica of Mary of all Martyrs, in Rome, Italy, is on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa’s original inscription, which has confused its date of construction as the original Pantheon burnt down so it is not certain when the present one was built.
The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 142 feet (43 m).
After our visit at the Pantheon, we went back to our tour bus but again 3 of my co-pilgrims got lose. But we saw them riding a taxi back to the hotel. The rest of us went to St. Paul outside the Walls at around 3:32PM. We reached St. Paul outside the Walls at around 4:20PM, have some picture taking; saying short prayers; then left the basilica at 5PM and went back to Hotel Diana. We arrived in Hotel Diana in Rome, Italy at almost 6PM.
The Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Paolo
fuori le Mura), commonly known as St. Paul’s outside the Walls, is one of Rome’s four ancient, Papal, major basilicas, along with the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Mary Major.
The Basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. However, the Holy See fully owns the Basilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof and to concede to it “the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States.”
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