Today is the feast day of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran, which is the actual cathedral of the Pope (it's not Saint Peter's).
On my first visit, I was awestruck by the fact that the front doors were the ancient doors from the Roman forum. The doors (within the copper casing here) were around 2000 years old. That is 1800 years (or 9 times) older than the United States.
The inside is beautiful. Below is a picture of the main altar. Above that in the baldachino are statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. It is said that their skulls are in the heads of those statues. Some have disagreed, but the evidence seems to be believable after investigations in the 1950's about which are written in "The Tombs of St Peter and St Paul" by Fr. Engelbert Kirschbaum, S.J.
Off to the left of the above picture is the Eucharistic chapel. Above the altar is a scene of the Last Supper which contains a part of the table from the Last Supper. (Sorry for the blurry shot. Bad lighting, zooming, and learning a new camera didn't combine too well.)
Having devotion to Saint Francis, I was thrilled to see this painting above and beside the Papal Throne, which shows Saint Francis visiting the Pope to have his rule approved (remember Saint Francis was obedient to the Church).
The Pope's Corpus Christi Mass is also celebrated here on the proper day of Corpus Christi (it isn't transferred to Sunday) outside. It is great because for a papal Mass, it is not very crowded. This is from 2001 when Pope John Paul II said the Corpus Christi Mass.
After the Mass is a procession from Saint John Lateran to Santa Maria Maggiore. The procession is huge and goes about a mile with many sodalities, confraternities, and clergy leading the procession. Being with Father Clement, he knew a quick back way to get to a great veiwing place which placed us right on the street where the procession would pass. In the rank ahead of the Pope and the monastrance was one Cardinal Ratzinger.
Finally the Pope came by. This is not a zoom shot.
Finally, the spectators follow the procession and then receive benediction outside of Santa Maria Maggiore. The entire piazza and side streets were packed with people. Interestingly, although there were people from all over the world, a vast majority knew the Eucharistic adoration hymns in Latin.
So there's a quick visit to Saint John Lateran