The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the Church of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. Officially named Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sancti Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano (English: Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Sts. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran"), it is the oldest and ranks first (being the cathedral of Roma) among the four major basilicas of Roma. It holds the title of ecumenical mother church (mother church of the whole inhabited world) among Catholics.
The twelve niches created by Borromini's architecture were left empty for decades until 1703 when Pope Clement XI encouraged the completion of the decoration, by sponsoring a competition to select the designs for larger-than-life sculptures of the apostles. The chosen sculptural designs were by some of the the most prominent late baroque sculptors in Roma.