A member of the Laterani family was said to have conspired against Emperor Nero, the emperor in retaliation confiscated and redistributed what belonged to the family. The Lateran Palace was among them. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine, gave the palace to the Roman Catholics.
As it is officially called, Papal Archbasilica of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in Lateran, was restored from its original look by Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century. He demolished the existing building and made a completely new basilica.
In the 10th century, the basilica was first dedicated to St John the Baptist and in the 12th century to St John the Evangelist. These two saints are regarded as co-patrons. But the inscription on the facade shows, Christo Salvatori, Christ the Saviour.
At present, St John, is the oldest and number one of the main four basilicas in Rome. This is a seat to the bishop of Rome, which is the Pope. But due to the workload, this basilica is run by Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.
Roman Catholics are convinced, this church is the mother of all churches, infact the inscription at the facade reads: Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head.
In St John square, stands the largest obelisk in the world, which is brought from the Karnak temple of Thebes in Egypt.
St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I, brought Scala Sancta to Rome. Roman Catholic church tradition tells, Jesus Christ walked the staircase before Pilate in the city of Jerusalem.