On at least three occasions during the pontificate of Innocent III, Gerald of Wales—failed bishop, celebrated story-teller, and inveterate and inventive pilgrim, made the journey to Rome.There, having already carried out his preliminary research, he was always eager to examine two of the most outstanding images in Rome at close quarters. These two images—the Uronica at the Lateran and the Veronica at St Peter’s—made such a deep impression upon him that his description and explanation of their importance was to form a central role in his Speculum Ecclesiae, which he wrote on his return home. He clearly saw them as a pair, having similar names and being held in equal reverence, although perhaps their authenticity sprang from different roots. His remarks would have greatly pleased Innocent, for this was precisely the approach which the pope aimed to achieve. He considered it essential that the long and damaging rivalry between the two great basilicas of the Lateran and the Vatican, which had existed for much of the twelfth century, should now be resolved. It was a rivalry which had brought scandal to the papacy and grave detriment to the Church. In thiscontroversy the Lateran had some advantages, both historically—as the cathedral of Rome and hence of the world—and in the popular appeal of its fabulous relics. A brief glance at a contemporary inventory shows the outstanding richness of this collection. Innocent’s aim was not to diminish the Lateran, but instead to raise the status of St Peter’s, so that both became co-equal seats of the pope-bishop of Rome. What Gerald of Wales had written confirmed Innocent’s own reading of the Liber Pontif¡calis, which was to form the basis for his important reform of the liturgy at this time. Nor was his approbation merely directed towards Gerald. It went to all observant pilgrims, particularly that small number of highly significant archbishops and metropolitans who came to Rome to collect their pallia on their appointments. That great show, the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, saw almost all of them in attendance. ‘Here was a wonderful opportunity for Innocent to stress the underlying purpose of his artistic patronage, whereby Lateran and Vatican were to achieve coequal status whilst, at the same time, the Church’s real message was being strengthened.