Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Wednesday In Holy Week (Spy Wednesday). Lenten Station At The Papal Basilica Of Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore) (Sanctae Mariae Maioris) (Our Lady Of The Snows).

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday in Holy Week.

Station at Saint Mary Major.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Privileged Feria.

Violet Vestments.

English: Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Italian: Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris.
Photo: December 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore) (Our Lady of The Snows).
Photo: March 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Sixtus.
(Wikimedia Commons)

"Roman Pilgrimage: The Lenten Station Churches".
Available on YouTube at

"The Lenten Stations Pilgrimage in Rome".
Available on YouTube at

From today, The Stational Celebrations of Holy Week are held in Rome at The Great Basilicas. That of Wednesday is held at Saint Mary Major, the largest and most celebrated Sanctuary Dedicated to The Blessed Virgin, whose sufferings The Church commiserates during these days.

The first Passage, from the Prophet Isaias, bears on The Passion. The Blood that dyes The Saviour’s Garments is His Own Most Precious Blood. Instead of crushing the people in His Indignation, He Suffers and Dies For Them.

English: Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Français: Basilique Sainte-Marie-Majeure, Vatican, située à Rome, Latium, Italie.
Photo: September 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tango7174.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The second Passage foretells the principal features of The Passion, with such remarkable precision, that The Fathers of The Church speak of Isaias as The Fifth Evangelist. It is “The Man of Sorrows” Who “was led as a Sheep to the slaughter and was dumb”. “He was covered with wounds and reputed with the wicked.” “He was bruised for our sins,” “Cut off out of the land of the living, He had the ungodly to guard His Sepulchre and the rich to bury Him after His Death”, “and, by His bruises, we are healed”.

Justifying to the full His Title of Saviour, “He became Obedient Unto Death, even to The Death of The Cross” (Introit), as we are shown it today in the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

The Borghese Chapel, Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Illustration: TRIP ADVISOR

English: The Borghese Chapel, Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Português: Capela Borghese, Santa Maria Maggiore, Roma.
Photo: 2005.
Source: Photo taken by Ricardo André Frantz.
Author: Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys).
(Wikimedia Commons)

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Entrance to The Borghese Chapel.
Photo: November 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Warburg.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Catechumens and Christian Penitents, alike, “we were, in truth, like sheep that had gone astray, each one having turned aside into his own way”, and Jesus, “having the iniquity of us all laid on Him, has received in return a multitude of disciples” (Second Lesson). During The Easter Festivities, the Souls of men will become reconciled to God in The Sacraments of Baptism and Penance.

Renewing at Mass The Mysteries of The Passion of Our Lord, let us Pray “to be delivered by His Merits from the power of the enemy and to obtain The Grace of His Resurrection” (First and Second Collects, and Secret).

Mass: In nómine Jesu.

English: The Coffered Ceiling of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Magyar: A főhajó aranyozott kazettás mennyezete.
Date: 2008-08-27 (original upload date).
Source: Transferred from hu.wikipedia to Commons by User:Gothika using CommonsHelper.
Author: Original uploader was Kit36a at hu.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Italian: Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, 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 greatest size of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major justifies the adjective (Papal Basilica) by which it is distinguished from the other twenty-five Churches.

According to The 1929 Lateran Treaty, the Basilica, located in Italian territory, is owned by The Holy See and enjoys Extra-Territorial Status, similar to that of foreign embassies. The building is patrolled Internally by Police Agents of Vatican City State, not by Italian Police.

The Church may still sometimes be 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".

English: Decorated murals in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome.
Magyar: Santa Maria Maggiore, Róma. A főbejárat feletti belső faldíszítés.
Date: 2008-08-27 (original upload date). Taken on 2005.04.22.
Source: Transferred from hu.wikipedia to Commons by User:Gothika using CommonsHelper.
Author: Original uploader was Kit36a at hu.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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 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.

English: Interior of The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Português: Capela lateral e parte da nave, Santa Maria Maggiore, Roma.
Date: 2005.
Source: Taken by Ricardo André Frantz.
Author: Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The earliest building on the site was the Liberian Basilica, or Santa Maria Liberiana, after Pope Liberius (352 A.D. - 366 A.D.). 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.

No Catholic Church can be honoured with the Title of Basilica unless by Apostolic Grant or from Immemorial Custom. Saint Mary Major is one of the only four Basilicas that today hold the Title of Major Basilica. The other three are Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter and Saint Paul-without-the-Walls. (The Title of Major Basilica was once used more widely, being attached, for instance, to the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, in Assisi.) All the other Catholic Churches that, either by Grant of the Pope or by Immemorial Custom, hold the Title of Basilica, are Minor Basilicas.

Until 2006, the four Major Basilicas, together with the Basilica of Saint Laurence-without-the-Walls, were referred to as the five "Patriarchal Basilicas" of Rome, associated with the five ancient Patriarchal Sees of Christendom (see Pentarchy). Saint Mary Major was associated with the Patriarchate of Antioch. In the same year, the title of "Patriarchal" was also removed from the Basilica of Saint Francis, in Assisi.

English: Cupola over a Side-Altar. Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome.
Deutsch: Santa Maria Maggiore Rom, Kuppel eines Seitenaltars.
Photo: February 2008.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The former five Patriarchal Basilicas, with The Basilica of The Holy Cross in Jerusalem and San Sebastiano fuori le mura, formed the Traditional Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, which are visited by Pilgrims during their Pilgrimage to Rome, following a twenty-kilometres (twelve miles) itinerary, established by Saint Philip Neri on 25 February 1552, especially when seeking The Plenary Indulgence on Holy Years. For The Great Jubilee of 2000, Pope John Paul II replaced Saint Sebastian's Church with The Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.

It is agreed that the present Church (Santa Maria Maggiore) was built during the Reign of Pope Sixtus III (432 A.D. - 440 A.D.). The Dedicatory Inscription on The Triumphal Arch, "Sixtus Episcopus plebi Dei" (Sixtus the Bishop to the people of God) is an indication of that Pope's role in the construction. As well as this Church on the summit of The Esquiline Hill, Pope Sixtus III is said to have commissioned extensive building projects throughout the City, which were continued by his successor, Pope Leo I (The Great).

Church Building in Rome in this period, as exemplified in Saint Mary Major, was inspired by the idea of Rome being not just the Centre of the World of The Roman Empire, as it was seen in The Classical Period, but the Centre of The Christian World.

English: Interior of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, (Our Lady of The Snows), Rome, Italy.
Česky: Vnitřní prostory Baziliky Santa Maria Maggiore, Řím, Itálie.
Photo: April 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Karelj.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the first Churches built in honour of The Virgin Mary, was erected in the immediate aftermath of The Council of Ephesus of 431 A.D., which proclaimed Mary, Mother of God. Pope Sixtus III built it to Commemorate this decision.

When the Popes returned to Rome after the period of The Avignon Papacy, the buildings of the Basilica became a temporary Palace of the Popes, due to the deteriorated state of The Lateran Palace. The Papal Residence was later moved to The Palace of the Vatican, in what is now Vatican City.

The Basilica was restored, re-decorated and extended by various Popes, including Eugene III (1145–1153), Nicholas IV (1288–1292), Clement X (1670–1676), and Benedict XIV (1740–1758), who, in the 1740s, Commissioned Ferdinando Fuga to build the present façade and to modify the Interior. The Interior of Santa Maria Maggiore underwent a broad renovation, encompassing all of its Altars, between 1575 and 1630.

The original architecture of Santa Maria Maggiore was Classical, and Traditionally Roman, perhaps to convey the idea that Santa Maria Maggiore represented Old Imperial Rome, as well as its Christian future.

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