The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (Italian: Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano), is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope.
It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome (having the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome).It claims the title of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics. The current archpriest of St. John Lateran is Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome. The President of the French Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, is ex officio the "first and only honorary canon" of the basilica, a title inherited from the Kings of France, who have held it since Henry IV of France.
An inscription on the fašade, Christo Salvatori, indicates the church's dedication to "Christ the Saviour", for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.