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Prehistoric Scratchpad

The four major papal basilicas located around Rome. Only a pope or his designee can perform mass at the high altar of one of these churches.


1000 AD[]

The four Major Basilicas were standing. The Old St. Peter's basilica was standing.

Earlier History[]

  • 4 AD, Mary is said to have conceived Jesus.
  • 27 AD, St. John the Baptist is said to have baptised Christ.
  • Circus of Nero construction begins in reign of Caligula (37-41)
  • St. Peter is said to have been crucified upside down in the Circus of Nero in 62 AD, a few years after the first official persecution of Christians. St. Paul was martyred at about the same time.
  • Septimius Severus establishes the Castra Nova equitum singularium in 193 AD.
  • Pope Miltiades (311-314) becomes the first pope to reside in the Lateran Palace.
  • Constantine I founded the Basilica of St. Paul over St. Paul's burial place and it was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324.
  • St. Mary's Basilica was built under Pope Sixtuss III (432-440), erected in the immediate aftermath of the Council of Ephesus (431) and was one of the first church's dedicated to Mary.
  • Alter of St. Paul's Basilica moved to be directly over St. Paul's tomb by Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604).
  • In 800, Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire at St. Paul's Basilica.
  • In 846, St. Paul's and St. Peter's basilicas are raided by Saracens, after which fortifications were built.
  • In the 10th Century, Pope Sergius III dedicated the archbasilica and Lataran Palace to St. John the Baptist.

Later History[]

  • In the 12th Century, Pope Lucius II dedicated the archbasilica and Lataran Palace to St. John the Evangelist.
  • In 1300, Pope Bonifice VIII introduces the title "Major Basilica". Visiting one of these churches becomes a requirement of a Jubilee.
  • In 1309, Pope Clement V transferred the seat of the Papacy to Avignon.
  • When the papacy returned to Rome, fires in the Lateran Palace had made it unfit for papal residency. St. Mary's was used as a temporary residency.
  • Construction of the Apostalic Palace (near St. Peter's Basilica) began in 1471 and finished in 1605.
  • Old St. Peter's Basilica is destroyed in 1506 and the new basilica is finished in 1629.
  • In 1823, a fire started in St. Paul's Basilica, which ruined the last church which had survived as is since early Roman days.

Modern History[]

  • The Lateren Treaty of 1929 between the Vatican City State and Italy indicates that the three basilicas located within Rome but not within Vatican City are within Italian territory, but are owned by the Holy See.
  • In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI ordered St. Paul and St. Mary's basilicas to come under the jurisdiction of an Archpriest.


Major Basilicas Web Pages[]

Major Basilicas In the News[]

Holy Door of St. Peter's Opened for Jubilee (Nov 2015)[]

Pagan Temples Converted to Churches (Oct 2017)[]

Mary Icon Gets Retouched (Jan 2018)[]


Virtual Tourism[]

Related Pages[]