Saint john dating
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one.A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church.A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance.
Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput". It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St.
Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313.
From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds.
This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit").
The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old.
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The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place.