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Rome - Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

From Wikipedia:

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris),[ or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy.
Other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary include Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major justifies the adjective by which it is distinguished from the other 25.
According to the 1929 Lateran Treaty, the basilica located in Italian territory is owned by the Holy See and enjoys extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. The building is patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State, not by Italian police. It is located on Piazza del Esquilino, number 34, some five blocks southwest of the Stazione Termini.

Other names
The church is sometimes referred to as Our Lady of the Snows, a name given to it in the Roman Missal from 1568 to 1969 in connection with the liturgical feast of the anniversary of its dedication on 5 August, a feast that was then denominated Dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Nives (Dedication of Saint Mary of the Snows). This name for the basilica had become popular in the 14th century in connection with a legend that the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia reports thus: "During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, not even by Sixtus III in his eight-line dedicatory inscription ... it would seem that the legend has no historical basis."
The legend is first reported only after the year 1000. It may be implied in what the Liber Pontificalis, of the early 13th century, says of Pope Liberius: "He built the basilica of his own name (i.e. the Liberian Basilica) near the Macellum of Livia".Its prevalence in the 15th century is shown in the painting of the Miracle of the Snow by Masolino da Panicale.
The Blessed Virgin Mary overlooking Pope Liberius as the Pontiff scraped the foundation of the basilica with miracle of the snow. By Italian artist Masolino da Panicale. circa 15th-century. Museo di Capodimonte.
The feast was originally called Dedicatio Sanctae Mariae (Dedication of Saint Mary's), and was celebrated only in Rome until inserted for the first time into the General Roman Calendar, with ad Nives added to its name, in 1568. A congregation appointed by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 proposed that the reading of the legend be struck from the Office and that the feast be given its original name. No action was taken on the proposal until 1969, when the reading of the legend was removed and the feast was called In dedicatione Basilicae S. Mariae (Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary). The legend is still commemorated by dropping white rose petals from the dome during the celebration of the Mass and Second Vespers of the feast.
The earliest building on the site was the Liberian Basilica or Santa Maria Liberiana, after Pope Liberius (352-366). This name may have originated from the same legend, which recounts that, like John and his wife, Pope Liberius was told in a dream of the forthcoming summer snowfall, went in procession to where it did occur and there marked out the area on which the church was to be built. Liberiana is still included in some versions of the basilica's formal name, and "Liberian Basilica" may be used as a contemporary as well as historical name.
On the other hand, the name "Liberian Basilica" may be independent of the legend, since, according to Pius Parsch, Pope Liberius transformed a palace of the Sicinini family into a church, which was for that reason called the Sicinini Basilica. This building was then replaced under Pope Sixtus III (432-440) by the present structure dedicated to Mary. However, some sources say that the adaptation as a church of a pre-existing building on the site of the present basilica was done in the 420s under Pope Celestine I, the immediate predecessor of Sixtus III. Long before the earliest traces of the story of the miraculous snow, the church now known as Saint Mary Major was called Saint Mary of the Crib (Sancta Maria ad Praesepe), a name it was given because of its relic of the crib or manger of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, four boards of sycamore wood believed to have been brought to the church, together with a fifth, in the time of Pope Theodore I (640-649). This name appears in the Tridentine editions of the Roman Missal as the place for the pope's Mass (the station Mass) on Christmas Night,] while the name "Mary Major" appears for the church of the station Mass on Christmas Day.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Romano Lattanzi (Romano46) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1154 W: 0 N: 2740] (17516)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2010-10-20
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-01-10 12:49
Viewed: 956
Points: 40
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