Dedicated in 324, AD, the Lateran Basilica is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome. It claims the title of ecumenical mother church (mother church of the whole inhabited world) among Catholics.
As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, containing the papal throne (Cathedra Romana), it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica. The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican City boundaries, territorially located within the city of Rome in the Italian Republic. However it has been granted a special extraterritorial status as a property of the Holy See.