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Catholic Dictionary




The papal edifice in Rome used as the residence of the popes from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries. It was named for Plautius Lateranus, a Roman senator, who died under Nero, and was given by Emperor Maximian in his daughter's dowry to Emperor Constantine, who gave it to the reigning pope, Miltiades, in 313. Fire destroyed it twice. Pope Sixtus V had it restored as a smaller edifice. The Church of the Most Holy Savior, commonly called St. John Lateran, adjoins it. Pius XI established the Museum of Catacomb Inscriptions and Christian Antiquities there. It was here that the Roman Question was settled by treaty in 1929, one article of which secures the Lateran to the papacy as an extraterritorial possession.