The Holy Door (Porta Santa) of the Papal Basilica of St John Lateran (Basilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano), which is the cathedral of Rome, was created by the sculptor Floriano Bodini (1933-2005) for the Jubilee of 2000.
The Holy Door is made up of a single bronze panel and depicts the Virgin Mary and Child standing in front of the crucified Christ. Unlike the vast majority of images of the Crucifixion, Bodini has correctly depicted the nails piercing Christ's wrists and not his hands.
The simple Latin inscription proclaims: CHRISTUS HERI HODIE SEMPER (Christ Yesterday Today Forever).
The coat of arms belongs to St John Paul II (r. 1978-2005), the pope who commissioned the work.
Each of Rome's four Papal Basilicas has a Holy Door. They are only open during a Holy Year, or Jubilee, which is normally held once every 25 years. For the rest of the time the doors are bricked up on the inside.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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