Tour of San Giovanni, Italy

On Thursday, December 1, we had the absolute pleasure to show our classmates San Giovanni, Italy. Our tour included the Saint Francis of Assisi monument, The Lateran Palace, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, and the Holy Stairs. The Assisi monument is located adjacent to the Basilica and was created in remembrance of the 700th anniversary of Saint Francis’s death. It shows the wonderful saint’s arms wide open with his stone disciples surrounding him.

Secondly, the Lateran Palace used to be the home of the popes for about a thousand years until it moved to the Vatican. Today, it is a museum. Outside of the Lateran Palace is the Lateran Obelisk. It is the oldest and highest obelisk in all of Italy and is the largest standing ancient Egyptian Obelisk monument in the world. Meghan enjoyed sharing with everyone that it is topped with a cross and the pedestal was decorated with inscriptions explaining its’ history and travels.

Next, we went to the first church built in Rome called the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. Built in the fourth century, it is referred to as the “Mother of all churches in the world”. It was built under the direction of Pope Melchide on land owned by the noble Lateran family. We thought that it was interesting that this holy and devout place holds the heads of Saint Peter and Saint Paul which are preserved inside. We also liked sharing that the Basilica contained part of the last supper table and the same table used by Saint Peter when he celebrated the Eucharist with the Roman Senator Prudens. We both thought that the Basilica was absolutely beautiful and we highly recommend visiting there more than once. One individual can barely scratch the surface of what this place had to offer just within one visit.

Lastly, we showed the class the Holy Stairs or what is commonly known as Scala Sancta. These are the 28 steps that Jesus Christ himself ascended, descended, and bled on right before His Passion. The Passion were Christ’s last days. It was a very moving and spiritual experience filled with much needed time of prayer for those who visit. There is amazing art work of the stations of the cross on the ceilings and walls. These stairs were brought in from Jerusalem in the year, 326 by St. Helena. The devout go up the walnut woodwork stairs on their knees. Sancta Sactorum meaning the holy of holies was a chapel built in the middle ages meant to serve as a private oratory for the Popes in the Lateran Palace. It is known to be the most holy place in the world especially during holy week. Lori really enjoyed sharing insight about the Image of the Most Holy Savior because it is the most ancient and well known image of all time. This image is thought to have been originated in Rome between the fifth and sixth centuries and is preserved in the chapel above the stairs. In conclusion, Meghan and Lori were elated with joy to share with the class the greatness that is San Giovanni because the history and beauty of this place were worth sharing!

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