Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Today is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica - the Mother and Head of All Churches of the World.


The eighteenth century facade

There are Wikipedia accounts of the basilica here and of the adjoining palace here.

As a liturgical feast today emphasises and is a sign of our unity under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, whose cathedral it is.


The apse and the throne of the Pope

Historically, as the first church built with the sanction and encouragement of the Emperor Constantine after the battle of the Milvian bridge and the edit of Milan, it links in a very tangible way the Church today to that of the era of Constantine and the Peace of the Church.

As a building which has, inevitably, been added to, extended, rebuilt and repaired over the centuries, and has witnessed centuries of papal use - it was the principal residence of the Popes until 1303 - it illustrates the concept of the development of doctrine within the continuing unity of the Church in its very construction and fabric. A living stone, ever old, ever new, the ecclesia semper reformanda.


The High Altar.

Within the canopy are preserved what are believed to be the heads
of SS Peter and Paul

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