Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lenten Stational Church in Rome

Wednesday, the last week in Lent
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
( Basilica of St. Mary Major)

One of the four Papal Basilicas in Rome,  St. Mary Major is the Church of Our Lady of the Snow in Rome.  Our Lady appeared in a dream to a local patrician and his wife, as well as Pope Liberius, directing that a church be built on the summit of the Equiline Hill in Rome -- and that it be placed precisely within the boundaries of the snowthat would fall on that hill on the night of August 4th, 352.   The pope, himself, marked the outline the next morning and immediately commisioned construction.  The basilica that we see today was completed with the commissions of Pope Sixtus III  in the middle of the fifth century.  It is the oldest, largest, and most important of the churches  dedicated to the Blessed Mother in Rome.

There are numerous ancient mosaics throughout the basilica decorating floors, walls, and ceilings.  Most notable is the relic of the Holy Crib preserved for veneration in the in the Sistine Chapel below the sanctuary  of the main church, as well as the relics of the True Cross  which are also displayed within St. Mary's.

For more history, go here or you can click here to see the white rose petals flutter down from the dome of the St. Mary's Basilica on the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows. 

Or visit the basilica right now in the following short video documentary:

(Please forgive the improper alignment of text. It appears that Blogger is Conservative, as it will not allow me to align left...)

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