The Colegio's Motto: Deus, Patria, Letran (for God, for Country, for Letran) Her motto is embodied in the triune ideal of God, country, and alma mater... first, God, as God cannot but be first... then the fatherland, as all the bounties of God are rooted deeply in the land upon which she stands... then finally, the school... she is the mother who takes the plastic minds in her hands and fashion them in accord with her supreme ideal... her magnificence is measured by this supreme ideal.
The Letranite is personified by the Knight who goes through rigid tests from being a Page to a Squire when his heart and soul are many times tested for purity before he qualifies for the most trying challenge and then granted knighthood. As a Knight, he carries the shield and the lance to protect not his body but his ideals as he fights for them with a pure heart.
The Colegio’s seal bears the Cross, the symbol of Christianity and of the Crusades. Tradition says that Don Juan Geronimo Guerrero, one of the founding fathers of Letran, was a Knight of Malta. This group traces its origins to the Crusades, under the banner, "Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem," who transferred to Malta in 1530, and allowed to stay on the condition that they swear allegiance to the Emperor Charles V of Spain. Since then, the Knights of Malta have earned a place of honor within the Church by their pious works. The Letran Cross represents our creed and commitment, our crusade and championing of the Christian faith.
The silver cross on a blue and red field encircled by the wreath of green laurel represents the pattern of perfection of which all minds that come to Letran are molded. Its silver bespeaks of the purity which must be attained. The blue and red field indicates Letran, the battleground where the vile things are fought against the daunted and where ultimately the consummate ideal of the cross is accomplished. For that ultimate triumph, there is the wreath of green, ever fresh for every victory.
The College seal of a Maltese Cross bearing the inscription of “Collegial de Letran” dates between the 1696 and 1716. This seal is derived from the “Lateran” and Knights of Malta traditions.
At the top center of the shield is the knight, the title and the name of all members of the Letran community most especially the students must be known. At the left side of the figure is the spear and at the right side is the torch, symbolizing truth and courage every Knight must have in pursuit of quality integral formation. The shield itself contains the Dominican’s cross colored black and white, signifying that Letran is a Dominican institution. At the center is the Letran seal of a silver cross on a blue and red field enriched by the green wreath laurel. On it, hangs the Colegio’s motto, summarizing the core values of love of God, country, and Letran.
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Blue stands for loyalty and justice. It is the loyalty and justice of the blue-blooded, a loyalty of noblest form and a strong sense of justice which grasps fully well the order of waves. Red is for consummate bravery... that firmness of heart, that staunchness of will, that openness of mind. It stands for the firmness of a martyr who welcomes the heathen's sword across his neck and a hero who saves countless lives at the price of his precious own.
The colors of Letran are blue and red, not red and blue... needs must stay before red... for consummate bravery asks of consummate cause. The martyr marches firmly towards the scaffold only in complete faithfulness to his creed, and the hero offers his whole life only if such whole offertory does justice to a sublime cause... bravery simply for the exquisiteness of spilled blood, which ends in supreme sacrifice for a trivial or for no account, this is not Letran's.
November 9 marks the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. The Basilica is considered as the mother church of Christendom. This feast was originally observed only in Rome. When the emperor Constantine donated the Laterani Palace to the Pope, the Palace was dedicated to our Lord.
The Palace was owned by the Laterani, a Roman noble family who revolted against Nero in 53-54 A.D. The Emperor Constantine stayed there when he visited Rome in 315 A.D. During the Crusades, the Pope renamed the church after the Benedictine Monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist (which were situated on both sides of the Palace), but retained the Laterani appellation. Thus, it is the present name of Basilica of St. John Lateran.
During the dark days of the Church, the Papal elections were conducted at the Basilica, from the 12th century onwards. The feast of the Lateran Basilica was observed throughout the Roman Catholic as a sign of devotion to and of unity with the Chair of Peter.
The Dominican spirit of upholding church unity and orthodoxy in faith is clearly manifested when the founding father named the first boy’s school in the country after the mother Church of Christendom: Colegio de San Juan de Letran.