One P Day recently (a P Day is when we take a break from our normal weekly schedule to catch up and to do the tourist thing), I took a trip to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It's the oldest basilica in Rome, even older than St. Peter's. The next few photos are of the baptistry, this hexagonal building, next to the basilica:
I took the following photo because it shows the filled-in baptismal font. It is shown from the outside below.
These are the huge doors into the basilica, which are hardly ever open. One enters through a smaller door to the side.
Below is one of the side corridors.
This is the nave, the central portion of the church. All the way down on either side, are statues of the apostles.
I thought this an interesting Madonna and Child, made of wood.
St. John Lateran is actually the sede of the bishop of Rome - i.e., the Pope. This is the papal throne.
Moses - not the famous Michelangelo rendering, but with the same "horns" which are actually symbolic of the light of revelation.
I thought this a lovely detail.
Here we have the Emporer Constantine in all his "splendor"... He was glorified as the savior of the Roman church.
Okay, in no particular order, the apostles: Tradition, garnered from the 12th century tome "The Golden Legend", which gathered all extant saintlore and is still around today, provides the stories of the apostles and their deaths. Their mode of death, whether actual or simply by tradition, is often portrayed with the person. For example, the most gruesome, rendered very dramatically here (as are all the apostle statues in this basilica), is Bartholomew/Nathanael - skinned alive (you can see his "skin" hanging down). Others were shown with a symbol of their ministry or career.
Philip, crucified for his testimony of the Crucifixion (and the Resurrection, let us add)
James the lesser, stoned then beaten with a club
John the Revelator, with his writing pad. The eagle is one of the four beasts of the book of Revelations, and has come to represent John. The other three evangelists, Mathew, Mark and Luke, have also come to be represented by the other three beasts.
Thomas, with his carpenter's square, symbolizing his "obsession" with exactness and proof. I think we minimize his devotion, however; he was the one, when Jesus could not be dissuaded from going to Jerusalem one last time, who said, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."
Andrew, Peter's brother, allegedly hung on an X-shaped cross
James, who by tradition traveled in Spain to preach the gospel, is nearly always pictured in a traveling cloak and staff. It's interesting that his death is the best documented, being the first apostle to suffer martyrdom in Jerusalem in 44 A.D. No actual documentation of traveling in Spain...
Simon the Zealot, sawed in half
Judas Thaddeus (not Iscariot), killed with an axe
Matthew, with writing tablet and bag of money (since his career was tax collector, or publican)
Paul, though not one of the original twelve, almost always replaces Judas Iscariot. Killed by the sword
Peter, with the keys representing divine revelation and authority from God
The portico at the entrance of St John Lateran; that's Constantine at the end.
The next photos are taken in the cloisters of St. John Lateran. Many relics from the original church on this site are included.
The next several photos come from our visit to Viterbo, one of those hilltop medieval towns that I so enjoy. They were getting ready for the celebration of the patron saint, Rose. About 100 "facchini" (porters) carry this large monument, the "macchina" from its place at the main gate, to the cathedral. The macchina is re-designed about every five years. Here the cranes are in place to transfer it to the porters.
Again, Moses, sans the horns and with the tablets
A church dating from early Middle Ages
A castle of the ruling family in Viterbo, circa 13th century
in readiness for the festival. beautiful real flowers!
Lots of towers
Would he pass for a facchino, do you think?
Now for some "people" photos. Chris Fry - worked at the temple voluntarily for three months. Lovely lady, living in Spain at the time. When she left, she bought pizzas and fed everyone in the atrium of the patron housing complex.
When we are short on visitors at the Visitors Center, the sister missionaries do role plays, and practice teaching gospel principles that relate to the display. The apostles in the VC are copies of those done by Bertal Thorvaldsen in the Our Lady Lutheran Church in Copenhagen. We could share the same kinds of details I shared above from my visit to St John's, but we are not tour guides; we are missionaries. As such, we choose to discuss with our visitors how each of us can apply the principles and lessons learned from the lives of these witnesses of the Resurrected Christ, in ways that bring us closer to knowing and serving Him.
We have a break room upstairs. Besides using it for meals, the sisters study there - and enjoy some down time! We love each and every one of them.
A very great pleasure was to have my sister Viki and her husband John Aaron visit with us! What a wonderful time we had! We took a golf-cart tour of Rome, a four-person bike around the gardens of the Villa Borghese, a quick trip to Napoli and environs, and in general spent some good quality time together, including several temple sessions. Family is the best!
waiting for the bus...
Below, the famous Aventine Keyhole! https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-aventine-keyhole-rome-rome-italy
our affable and knowledgeable guide, Eugene, an architectural student from Ukraine
great Rome skyline as seen from the Villa Borghese park
Piazza del Popolo from close to the same spot
Fun on a four-person bike!
The next few were taken from another favorite medieval town, this one near Naples, called Sant'Agata de' Goti. Pristine and charming.
This was one of those meals that transcend just eating, and become an event. That happens a lot when you combine family with travel to Naples and environs. Bought some of the best figs ever at a fruit stand there as well.
Try getting into this city!
This photo looks out over Naples, near Castel Sant'Elmo and our favorite cameo factory, where Viki and I bought cameo pendants of the Rome temple! We spent the night at an Airbnb right in the heart of the historic center, ate the best pizza/ice cream/street food/sfogliatelle ever, and took wonderful strolls through the old town. Love me some Napoli!
We took the ferry from Naples to Sorrento. We ought to have done more photos of Sorrento. We had fun walking the streets and taking a tram tour.
Blaine was very intrigued by this red submarine!
Stopped by the Naples Ward before we left. English group in progress - still using the sign he made three years ago to attract participants!
As I wrote in the title - there is so much more. Our mission is flying by, comprised of one day after another of edifcation and enlightenment. I pray to magnify this calling!