Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome

Dedication of St Mary Major BasilicaDedication of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome –Image: Catholic Online

(EWTN) There are in Rome three patriarchal Churches in which the Pope officiates on different festivals–These are the Basilica’s of St. John Lateran (09 November) St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill (25 April) and St. Mary Major — This last one is so called because it is both in antiquity and dignity, the First Church in Rome among those that are dedicated to God in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

First raised by the Order of Pope Liberius in the mid 4th century according to Franciscan Media the Liberian Basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III, shortly after the ‘Council of Ephesus’ affirmed Mary’s title as ‘Mother of God’ in 431 — Rededicated at that time to the ‘Mother of God’ St. Mary Major is the largest Church in the world honoring God through Mary.

Standing atop on of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline has survived many restorations without losing its character as an early Roman Basilica. Its interior retains three naves divided by colonnades in the style of Constantine’s era – 5th century mosaics on its walls testify to its antiquity.

One legend, unreported before the year 1000 gives another name to today’s Feast: ‘Our Lady of the Snows’ — According to that story, a wealthy Roman couple pledged their fortune to the ‘Mother of God’ in affirmation, she produced a miraculous Summer snowfall and told them to build a Church on that site. This legend was long celebrated by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the Basilica’s Dome every 05 August.

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