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The doors of the basilicas of St. Peter, St. John Lateran, St. Paul, and St. Mary Major, which are not opened except during the years of a jubilee. The Pope opens the doors of St. Peter's to officially begin a Holy Year, and closes them at the end of a jubilee. Cardinals are commissioned to do the same at the three other basilicas. The custom dates back to the jubilee of 1450, under Pope Nicholas V. Between jubilees the holy doors closed by two partitions of brick, between which are placed commemorative medals and a parchment recalling the jubilee just completed.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.