The University At The Lateran

Saturday 9 November is the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. As we know it is the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome. Pope Francis took possession of his cathedral on Sunday 7 April this year, which coincided with Divine Mercy Sunday. This occasion can be viewed here (particularly poignant, as usual, is when the Pope greets the ill and handicapped at about 13:05 into the video):

It was the first basilica in the city of Rome and was constructed on the site of the Lateran Palace, gifted to the Bishop of Rome by the Emperor Constantine. The name “Lateran” comes from the fact that the area was originally owned by the Lateranus family, a powerful gens of Rome in the earlier part of its classical period. The original basilica was dedicated by Pope Sylvester I in 324 AD. Among its many titles is that of mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world. Like the Pope himself, it is a focus of the Church’s unity.

Close by the basilica (in fact sort of nestling against it) is found the Pontifical Lateran University, established by Pope Clement XVI in 1773 after he had suppressed the Jesuits. Just as the basilica is known as the “Pope’s church”, the university is also known as the “Pope’s university” and has students from over 100 countries.

Below is a recording of the rather moving new hymn of the Pontifical Lateran University, with a translation attempted by yours truly.

Cristo nostra Sapienza, seme di speranza,
Specchio dell’Amore, fonte inesauribile,
Splendi come lampada luce di verità.

(Christ our Wisdom, seed of hope, mirror of Love, inexhaustible fount, You shine like a lamp the light of truth!)

Tu, Sapienza radiosa, desiderio santo,
Nella città eterna di pontefici e santi
fondasti un tempio nobile di sapere e verità.

(You, radiant Wisdom, [our] holy desire, founded a noble temple of knowledge and truth in the eternal city of pontiffs and saints.)

Germe di conoscenza, rendici saggi discepoli
Come guide sapienti sulle orme dei Padri.

(Seed of knowledge, make us knowing disciples, like wise guides in the footsteps of the Fathers.)

Tu ci hai convocati qui da tutto il mondo
Per studiare insieme, per conoscere il Vero
Nella Pontificia Università.

(You have called us together here from all the world to study together, to know the Truth, in the Pontifical University.)

Forti nella Ragione, saldi nella Fede,
Insegnanti e studenti a Te, Dio, ci affidiamo.
Fa’ di noi maestri della Tua Verità.

Lode a Te, Sapienza Eterna!

(Strong in Reason, firm in Faith, we teachers and students entrust ourselves to You, O God. Make of us teachers of Your Truth.

Praise to You, Eternal Wisdom!)

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About GC

Poor sinner.
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7 Responses to The University At The Lateran

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    Please scroll down to and watch the video. If I was a cynic, I’d wonder if it was staged, but I’m not and I don’t.

  2. GC says:

    He looks like quite a handful, that little one.

    There’s a few like that with the previous popes, JH. And here too.

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    awww. So this is a regular thing? Still, they’re awfully cute.

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Of course, there is also a great Franciscan connection to the Lateran. It was at the Lateran that St Francis met with Pope Innocent III, together with his first brothers, to ask for approval of his first rule. A fine bronze group statue in front of the Lateran – across a busy main road – shows Francis and his brothers arriving on foot from Assisi. I walked from the Lateran to Assisi at new year in 2007/2008 in the cold, rain and snow, just to discover for myself some sense of their homeward journey, as they discussed – after the pope’s approval of their rule – whether they should be hermits or preachers. How they ever thought of more than food and keeping warm was truly inspirational.

  5. GC says:

    The 800th anniversary of that approval was commemorated in 2009/2010 wasn’t it, Frere Rabit? The Franciscans of the Immaculate revisited that approval given by Innocent III at the Lateran with Mass in the Extraordinary Form on 26 April 2009 in the Basilica. The celebrant, was one of their founders, Fr Stefano Maria Manelli.

    How goes it now with the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Frere Rabit, after Pope Francis sought to take them in hand? Would you know?

  6. GC says:

    Sorry, that should be 16 April 2009.

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