basilica of st. john

PSA, cathedral is NOT a word that simply means “big church!” The word cathedral is derived from the latin cathedra, which means “chair,” because it is the seat of the local bishop. In any diocese there is only ONE cathedral. For instance, Rome has many large, beautiful churches but only one cathedral - the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the seat of the Bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the pope!

don’t use the word cathedral if you just mean big church

“When you are depressed, bear in mind the Lord’s command to Peter to forgive a sinner seventy times seven.
And you may be sure that He Who gave this command to another will Himself do very much more.”

  ~Saint John Climacus

(Photo: dramoor © 2015 Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy)



It is said that after John was instructed by Jesus to take care of Mary after Christ’s death (John 19:26-27), the apostle took her to Ephesus where he eventually authored the Fourth Gospel and the Book of Revelation. Legend has it that John, aged 98, died on Ayasoluk Hill, the spot where now stands the ruins of the church built in his name.

St. John’s tomb, located under the basilica’s main central dome, elevated the site to one of the most sacred places in the Middle Ages; but after Arab raids, the church fell into ruins and was converted into a mosque in 1330. The structure was then completely destroyed in 1402 by Tamerlane’s Mongol army.

Recent restoration, however, allows visitors to understand the basilica’s size and visualize its former splendor.