In the fourth century, the Laterani family of Rome was stripped of their land because one of their members was accused of conspiring against the Emperor. In 324 A.D., Emperor Constantine 1st gave the building located on that land to the bishops of Rome in order to create the first Roman basilica. It became known as St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano), named in honor of both St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. It is the oldest public church in the city of Rome, the oldest basilica of the Western world, and considered the mother church of the Roman Catholic Faith. It is located in Rome but outside the walls of Vatican City by about 2.5 miles, in territory owned by the Vatican through treaty. Over its history the Basilica has survived several fires, an earthquake, been reconstructed several times, and today is among the most beautiful churches in Rome. The Basilica is where all Popes were enthroned up until 1870, and today it is where the Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, celebrates Holy Thursday Mass. Just behind the Basilica, founded on top of a Roman thermal bath, is the baptistery of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It had been the most important place to be baptized in Rome for nearly the last 1,600 years. Many generations of Romans received the sacrament of baptism there. The baptistery was built in 450 A.D., and a side chapel to the baptistery was decorated with a half dome of mosaics. Experts believe the mosaics are some of the oldest ones in Christianity. In the baptistery both cut and inlaid stones and cut and manufactured colored glass were used to form pictures. It is very rare to have mosaics like that still located in the place where they were created, and have not been moved to a museum. The mosaics are in need of some serious restoration due to water, time, grime and damage caused by past restorers. The mosaicist Robert Cassio and his small team from the Vatican Museums found that past restorers had placed large panel of stone mosaics in cement, one of the worst mediums to use for supporting mosaics. It is too heavy, too rigid and “irreversible” when future repair or removal is needed. Also soluble salts in the cement eventually form crystals” that damage the mosaic surface. The examiners also found that the vaulted spaces had many colored glass tiles missing and some had been replaced with colored paint instead. About 660 lbs or 300,000 glass tiles of 40 different colors were missing and needed to be replaced. The Vatican Museum contacted the group known as the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums and they came to the rescue once again to dedicate funds needed for the restoration. That group is an interfaith nonprofit organization which funds restoration of badly damaged and important pieces of Christian art and history of the collections and buildings of the Vatican Museums. Mary Angela Schroth the project’s coordinator said the baptistery is linked to the spiritual growth of Christianity and of course, our Catholic Church.” With the help of the Vatican Museums and its patrons, “we want to make the site of the Lateran baptistery a destination for faith, a destination to understanding what is baptism” and how the story of our faith is linked to its artistic and historical monuments.” The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums who fund such restoration effort do so because they are dedicated to sustaining one of the oldest and most unconventional museums in the world. Unlike other major museums, the Vatican Museums receive no tax revenue to sponsor the restoration of its treasures, and therefore rely significantly on the generosity of its Patrons. This group of patrons have 5 international chapters, 15 North American Chapters, and one is located in California