A little know Roman fact about the feast of the Transfiguration

Did you know that today is the titular feast of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome?

"But Father! But Father", I can hear you objecting. "Don’t you know that that basilica is called ‘St. John‘? How can the Transfiguration of the Lord be the titular feast?"

Glad you asked. The real name of the Lateran Basilica is the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior, St. John Baptist and St. John the Evangelist at the Lateran. So, for a titular feast you really need a feast of the Lord.

While today is the main day for the basilica, they do make much over the two saints John as well. I do too. For my "onomastico", as the Italians call it, or "name day" I claim both the Baptist and the evangelist. That way I get two says in the summer (don’t forget the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist) and one in the winter.

And let us not forget that the Lateran Basilica is a Major Papal (formerly Patriarchal) Basilica. There are lots of minor basilicas in Rome and throughout the world There were five Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome to go with the five ancient patriarchal sees, four major patriarchal basilicas and one minor. How did that happen? The patriarchs always were allocated (symbolically) a basilica in Rome, thus Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, had St. Peter’s in the Vatican, St. Paul’s outside the walls, and St. Mary Major. When Jerusalem was added as a patriarchate it was assigned St. Lawrence outside the walls, though it remained a minor basilica.

The Bishop of Rome as Patriarch of the West had the Lateran Basilica obviously. And he still does, even though the Pope seems to have dropped the title of Patriarch of the West (remember that?). Interesting move that. And now some of the Orthodox are irritated that the Pope dropped the title.

I opined a long time ago that by dropping the title the Pope might be signaling that he is not patriarch of the West ONLY, but patriarch of pretty much everywhere (except for outer space, which I think belongs to someone else whom I shall not name).

Anyway, this is the titular feast of the Lateran Basilica.

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17 Responses to A little know Roman fact about the feast of the Transfiguration

  1. John says:

    “except for outer space, which I think belongs to someone else whom I shall not name”

    Oh come now Father, at least give us a clue.

  2. Diogo Teixeira Santos says:

    And what about the Pratiarch of Lisbon?

    Regards,

    Diogo Teixeira Santos, A.M.D.G.

  3. Seamas O Dalaigh says:

    Father,

    Do tell, who is the Patriarch of outer space?

    James Daly

  4. J says:

    Didn’t the Pope recently drop the title “Patriarchal” Basilica? I’m pretty sure that I heard that recently.

  5. john says:

    The Patriarch of Lisbon (and of Venice and wasn’t or isn’t there one of Goa and the Indies too?) was probably NOT given a basilica in Rome so as not to offend the Greeks.

    Are you in Portugal? Greetings from a fellow Portuguese in the Americas.

    John

  6. Terri says:

    This is a little like “Who’s on First” to a new Catholic LOL!

  7. Nathan says:

    +JMJ
    At the risk of sounding a little flip, I would venture to guess that the Patriarch of Outer Space is probably not Reverend Moon.

    In Christ,

  8. Nathan says:

    +JMJ
    At the risk of sounding a little flip, I would venture to guess that the Patriarch of Outer Space is probably not Reverend Moon.

    In Christ,

  9. Diogo Teixeira Santos says:

    John,

    Yes, I’m a proud Portuguese, but always with an eye on the world ;D

    Actualy, I live in Portugal, PORTO.

    You probably know it because of the wine…

    Regards,

    Diogo, A.M.D.G.

  10. Thomas Burk says:

    Milingo is my nominee for patriarch of outer space, though I’m not sure I like giving him any title at all.

  11. G. Selvester says:

    The so-called “patriarchal” basilicas are not so-called anymore. During this year it was announced that the Major Basilicas would no longer be called patriarchal basilicas. Now they are referred to as “Papal Basilicas”. However, among them, St. John Lateran is still the only one termed an Archbasilica. By the way, the Transfiguration is also the patronal or titular feast for any church called St. Saviour.

  12. And now some of the Orthodox are irritated that the Pope dropped the title.

    Not irritated, Father. Saddened.

  13. Christopher says:

    Hi, Father,

    Could you also celebrate the feast of Saint John Before the Latin Gate? Although the feast was removed from the general calendar, it remains in the Martyrology in force in 1962, doesn’t it?

    By the way, we visited the Archbasilica yesterday for the Transfiguration. As far as I could tell, they did not mark the titular feast in any special way. Disappointing. Saint Peter’s at least lit the candles at the altar of the Transfiguration …

    Thanks for your blog, Father …

  14. John says:

    If outer space does not belong to the Patriarchate of the Holy Father, then does this mean those present on the International Space Station are not subject to him? If this is the case, what are the ramifications of this in light of the Bull, Unam Sanctam?

  15. David says:

    How come the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is a solemnity of the Lord but the Transfiguration is only a feast of the Lord?

    As for the bishop of outer space, I thought I read somewhere that it was the bishop of Galveston-Houston. Or did I just read something completely wacky.

  16. Sean says:

    The Church of England have a bishop of Europe (oh the ‘Fog in English Channel, Continent cut off’ narcissism of it) so I expect a CofE bishop of Outer Space might be on the cards as well. There was a 1960s British comedy film about such a creature as I recall.

  17. Glitterboy says:

    The C of E also has an Archdeacon of Italy forsooth – Ven Arthur Siddall. I also like the idea of the Bishop of the Arctic