Marcus Aurelius Sacrificing from relief in the Conservatori Museum in Rome, c. 176-80 AD. Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest of 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary (hence the name, Maggiore, or Major/Most.) The church of Santa Maria Maggiore boasts mosaics all across its exterior facade, which illustrate the origin of the basilica. Moreover, Santa Maria Maggiore retains the bell tower, where mosaics and marble floors are from the medieval period and some Ionic columns from ancient Roman buildings. The Mosaics Santa Maria Maggiore - quick facts and a brief history. [8][Notes 1]. Others include Ferdinando Sermei, Giacomo Stella, Paul Bril, and Ferraù Fenzoni.[46]. The church retains the core of its original structure, despite several additional construction projects and damage by the earthquake of 1348. Most have survived, albeit with occasional restorations. Like precious gems set into the façade, the mosaics … 28, p. 24. 27, p. 34–39 and vol. Formerly, the archpriest was the titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch, a title abolished in 1964. The Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics have been convincingly parallel to the miniatures in the so-called Vatican Virgil. Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome. The triumphal arch is just as old and so we see one of the oldest mosaics as well. The Santa Maria Maggiore has gone through many changes over the centuries. Santa Maria Maggiore Santa Maria Maggiore has a large area of mosaics, probably from 432-440. Maria Maggiore to view of a reconstruction of the interior of the Baslica Ulpia which was part of the Forum of Trajan: Sta. And if we stop just here, the Basilica wouldn't probably be so important, but just a drop of water … The earliest building on the site was the Liberian Basilica or Santa Maria Liberiana, after Pope Liberius (352–366). The basilica's 16th-century coffered ceiling, to a design by Giuliano da Sangallo, is said to be gilded with gold, initially brought by Christopher Columbus, presented by Ferdinand and Isabella to the Spanish pope, Alexander VI. [14][15] 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,[16] while the name "Mary Major" appears for the church of the station Mass on Christmas Day. [35], 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. The basilica is the oldest of the four in Rome. The Basilica also contains frescoes by Giovanni Baglione, in the Cappella Borghese. Sabina: Then compare the interior of Sta. Maria Maggiore to Sta. He presides over the rites for the annual Feast of the Assumption of Mary on 15 August there. The interior of the Santa Maria Maggiore underwent a broad renovation encompassing all of its altars between the years 1575 and 1630. The mosaics found in Santa Maria Maggiore are one of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary in Christian Late Antiquity. The façade is the magnificent work of Ferdinand Fuga (1741), and faces east, opening in a portico of five arcades on the lower story and three arches in the upper loggia, which covers the thirteenth-century mosaics of the previous façade. Before 2006, the four papal major basilicas, together with the Basilica of St. Lawrence outside the Walls were referred to as the "patriarchal basilicas" of Rome,[Notes 2] and were associated with the five ancient patriarchates (see Pentarchy). The King of Spain, currently Felipe VI, is ex officio protocanon of the basilica's chapter. The triumphal arch marking the entrance to the apse includes New Testament stories focusing on the Incarnation of Christ. Fragments of the sculpture of the Nativity believed to be by 13th-century Arnolfo di Cambio were transferred to beneath the altar of the large Sistine Chapel[44] off the right transept of the church. As one scholar puts it, "This is well demonstrated by the decoration of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome,... where the iconographic depiction of the Virgin Mary was chosen at least in part to celebrate the affirmation of Mary as Theotokos (bearer of God) by the third ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 CE. This period is noted for a retrospective attitude where the architecture and the art consciously looks back to classical forms. The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Italian pronunciation: [ˈsanta maˈriːa madˈdʒoːre]; Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris),[2] or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is a Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. Redemptorist, Dominican and Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate priests serve the church. [37] The 14th century campanile, or bell tower, is the highest in Rome, at 246 feet, (about 75 m.). This point is made even more emphatically by looking at individual scenes and seeing how the artists formulated the narrative. [30], The triumphal arch at the head of the nave was at first referred to as the apse arch, but later became known as the triumphal arch. "[25] Another panel shows the demise of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. A good example is the story of Joshua at the Battle of Jericho where the Ark of the Covenant is being carried around the walls of Jericho: Joshua crossing the Jordan with the Ark; Joshua sending out spies. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the wonderful holy buildings in the Eternal City, one of the greatest symbols of Rome of the Pope, and of the Catholic Church. A miniature showing Aeneas overseeing the building of the city of Carthage clearly demonstrates the parallels to the Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics: Aeneas as the legendary founder of the Roman tradition is clearly depicted with the same formulas associated with Roman imperial art. [25] While the art biographer, Giovanni Baglione allocates specific works to individual artists, recent scholarship finds that the hand of Nebbia drew preliminary sketches for many, if not all, of the frescoes. The fifth-century mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome represent the oldest surviving program of mosaic decoration in a Christian church. Along with the Georgics, the codex contains a copy of Virgil's Aeneid, the major Roman epic poet. You can visit the church for free, opening hours are every day from 7 … The Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics have been convincingly parallel to the miniatures in the so-called Vatican Virgil. Quite a few experts believe that it is the most beautiful church in Rome. This manuscript in the Vatican Library comes from the end of the fourth or early fifth century. In addition to the archpriest and his assistant priests, a chapter of canons is resident. Select an option below to see step-by-step directions and to compare ticket prices and travel times in Rome2rio's travel planner. Santa Maria Maggiore (St Mary Major), one of the four papal basilicas, was built by Pope Sixtus III (r. 432-440) shortly after the Council of Ephesus (431) agreed to promote the veneration of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. The wing of the canonica (sacristy) to its left and a matching wing to the right (designed by Flaminio Ponzio) give the basilica's front the aspect of a palace facing the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore. This being said the crowning of Mary on the Apse where made much later by Torriti by commission of Pope Nicholas IV. [5] 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 mosaics of the triumphal arch and the nave in Santa Maria Maggiore gave a mo… It is now agreed that the present church was built under Celestine I (422–432) not under Pope Sixtus III (432–440), who consecrated the basilica on the 5th of August 434 to the Virgin Mary. An observer describes the mosaic: "The Egyptians, clad in blue armor with gold bands and scarlet cloaks wildly flying, drown in the greenish blue waters; the horses, white or light brown shaded with darker browns, highlighted in white, the accoutrements a bright red. [citation needed], The Athenian marble columns supporting the nave are even older, and either come from the first basilica, or from another antique Roman building; thirty-six are marble and four granite, pared down, or shortened to make them identical by Ferdinando Fuga, who provided them with identical gilt-bronze capitals. It was renovated during the 18th century. [9] 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). These mosaics are laid out as a narrative, beginning on the left hand wall adjacent to the apse with the story of Abraham. Pope Sixtus III built it to commemorate this decision. The papal residence was later moved to the Palace of the Vatican in what is now Vatican City. Another panel found on the triumphal arch is of the Virgin, she is crowned and dressed in a colorful veil, her wardrobe subtly brings to mind that of a Roman empress and in this panel she has her divine son walking with her and a suite of angels and Joseph ready to greet her; "The Virgin...shows to perfection the impressionistic character of mosaics. It covers the older twelfth century facade that had mosaics which were added in the last part of the thirteenth century. As one scholar puts it, "Santa Maria Maggiore so closely resembles a second-century imperial basilica that it has sometimes been thought to have been adapted from a basilica for use as a Christian church. In spite of the fact that Santa Maria Maggiore is gigantic in its area, it was built to plan. As one historian describes it: "On the apse arch Christ is enthroned, a young emperor attended by four chamberlains, angels of course",[27] this is a perfect example of mosaic art in the 5th century. The column itself is the sole remainder from Constantine's Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine in Roman Forum. Since 29 December 2016, the archpriest has been Stanisław Ryłko. [citation needed] Maderno's fountain at the base combines the armorial eagles and dragons of Paul V (Borghese). Santa Maria Maggiore was built at the top of Cispius, the highest part of the Esquiline hill, which is the highest of the seven hills of Rome. The so-called Quedlinburg Itala fragment further brings out the parallels: This fragment of a larger codex containing the so-called Itala edition of the Bible were found in the binding of a book in the German town of Quedlinburg. Panel Reliefs of Marcus Aurelius and Roman Imperial Iconography. Document dated 19 March 1244 mentions Astor (or Aston) as archpriest, documents between 13 February 1247 and 1 October 1255 mention archpriest without mentioning his name but also without indicating his cardinalate, and on 28 May 1258 Romano was archpriest of the Basilica; the latest document mentions also cardinal Pietro Capocci but makes no reference to his occupation of that post. If he was really an archpriest under Innocent IV, he must have later resigned, but it seems more likely that this statement resulted from a confusion. [25], The nave of the basilica was covered in mosaics representing Old Testament events of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt across the Red Sea. Pope Benedict XIV commissioned the designs. Roman-born Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) celebrated his first Holy Mass there on 1 April 1899. The main entrance is on the Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore. Just outside the Sistine Chapel is the tomb of Gianlorenzo Bernini and his family.[45]. The basilica represents several architectural styles, from early Christian to Baroque. 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. Only St. Peter’s Basilica itself is said to be more grandiose. The Basilica 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). [citation needed], The 12th-century façade has been masked by a reconstruction, with a screening loggia, that were added by Pope Benedict XIV in 1743, to designs by Ferdinando Fuga that did not damage the mosaics of the façade. This is followed on the left or north wall with scenes from the stories of Isaac and Jacob. An English Wikipedia article is here. Along with the Georgics, the codex contains a copy of Virgil's Aeneid, the major Roman epic poet. The All Seeing Eye – Eye’s God in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy The decorations in the church are enhanced even further by the mosaics on the triumphal arch and in the apse. The conception of this narrative thus again brings out the merging of the Roman Imperial and Christian traditions [for more of a discussion on the conventions of Roman Imperial Iconography see the page entitled Panel Reliefs of Marcus Aurelius and Roman Imperial Iconography]. On the right, he brings them a roasted calf. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. "[36], Even though Santa Maria Maggiore is immense in its area, it was built to plan. "[41] This is explained by the dual images of Old Testament and New Testament events depicted in the mosaics of the triumphal arch and the nave. [25] 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.[26]. (13th century), These mosaics gave historians insight into artistic, religious, and social movements during this time. The basilica was restored, redecorated and extended by various popes, including Eugene III (1145–1153), Nicholas IV (1288–92), Clement X (1670–76), and Benedict XIV (1740–58), who in the 1740s commissioned Ferdinando Fuga to build the present façade and to modify the interior. Date: 432: Building: Santa Maria Maggiore (Church : Rome, Italy) Object/Function: Mosaic… In 1954, the icon was crowned by Pope Pius XII as he introduced a new Marian feast Queenship of Mary. Except for a few priests and the basilica's archpriest, the canopied high altar is reserved for use by the pope alone. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was erected by Bishop Ecclesius between 525 and 532, and rebuilt in 1671 in baroque style on the basis of a design by Pietro Grossi. Melchisidek offering bread and wine to Abraham from the nave mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore. Instead the focus is on a series of Old Testament heroes or leaders beginning with Abraham, the first patriarch and culminating in the Exodus narrative of Moses and Joshua leading the Israelites to the Promissed Land. One of the major monuments of this period is the Roman Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. The mosaic in the apse of the church, which has been hailed as the finest in Rome, depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. The pope gives charge of the basilica to an archpriest, usually a cardinal. "[27] The key aspect that made Santa Maria Maggiore such a significant cornerstone in church building during the early 5th century were the beautiful mosaics found on the triumphal arch and nave. Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis all honoured the Salus Populi Romani with personal visits and liturgical celebrations. 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. The Emperor saw himself as the new Augustus at the same time as the new Abraham or Moses. The background for the figure of Abraham and Sarah is relatively naturalistic, whereas the ground behind the visitors is all gold, emphasizing their heavenly origin. Maria Maggiore is particularly significant for the preservation of some of its original mosaics. This chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is named after Pope Sixtus V, and is not to be confused with the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican, named after Pope Sixtus IV. "[43] The other panel depicts the Virgin accompanied by five martyrs. "[43] Another panel is known as the Adoration of the Magi and this mosaic depicts Infant Christ and The Virgin and the arrival of the three wise men, "mosaics illustrating Christ's first coming and his youth covered the triumphal arch. See how Saul is visualized as a Roman Emperor making a sacrifice. The icon is at least a thousand years old, and according to a tradition was painted from life by St Luke the Evangelist using the wooden table of the Holy Family in Nazareth. The mosaic is … [42] The triumphal arch is illustrated with magnificent mosaics depicting different scenes of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Baglione also concedes the roles of Nebbia and Guerra could be summarized as "Nebbia drew, and Guerra supervised the teams". [18] St. Mary Major is one of the only four that hold the title of "major basilica". The influences of these mosaics are rooted in late antique impressionism that could be seen in frescoes, manuscript paintings and many pavement mosaics across villas in Africa, Syria and Sicily during the 5th century. The facade, with salients, is devoid of decorations. Santa Maria Maggiore is a 5th century papal basilica with a postal address at Via Liberiana 27, which is in the rione Monti. However, this identification remains uncertain because the only document which mentions this archpriest (dated 3 July 1212) makes no reference to his cardinalate, cf. The column in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore celebrates the famous icon of the Virgin Mary now enshrined in the Borghese Chapel of the basilica. "[32], Miri Rubin believes that the building of the basilica was influenced also by seeing Mary as one who could represent the imperial ideals of classical Rome, bringing together the old Rome and the new Christian Rome: "In Rome, the city of martyrs, if no longer of emperors, Mary was a figure that could credibly carry imperial memories and representations. The two-story arcade and facade was built in 1743. This epic story of the Old Testament should be seen in relationship to the Christian plan of history of how there is a manifest destiny of the Old Testament story of the Chosen People leading to the New Testament story of Christ and culminating in the destiny of the Church and the Empire to continue this story of the Chosen People until the end of time. Mosaic Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome On the left in the lower register, Abraham has Sarah bake loaves for the visitors. [12], 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),[13] 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). It is known as Salus Populi Romani, or Health of the Roman People or Salvation of the Roman People, due to a miracle in which the icon reportedly helped keep plague from the city. The design of the basilica was an ordinary one amid this time in Rome: “a tall and wide nave; an aisle on either side; and a … The Hospitality of Abraham mosaic Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome 5th century Pictures of the basilica on Wikimedia Commons are here. Pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between the Holy See and Italy, the Basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. In fact, some of Santa Maria Maggiore's marble columns came from the Juno Lucina temple, which was located, according to archeological findings, about 300 meters from the basilica's present site. [19] (The title of major basilica was once used more widely, being attached, for instance, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi. As one scholar puts it, "This is well demonstrated by the decoration of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome,... where the iconographic depiction of the Virgin Mary was chosen at least in part to celebrate the affirmation of Mary as Theotokos (bearer of God) by the third ecumenical Council of Ephesusin 431 CE." There was a difference in the styles used in the triumphal arch mosaics compared to those of the nave; the style of the triumphal arch was much more linear and flat as one scholar describes it, not nearly as much action, emotion and movement in them as there were in the Old Testament mosaics of the nave. Last Judgment Throne (Hetoimasia), plaster cast from mosaics in the Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, from the time of Sixtus III, 432-440 AD - Pinacoteca Vaticana - Vatican Museums - DSC01253.jpg 3,465 × 3,283; 8.73 MB T he fifth-century mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome represent the oldest surviving program of mosaic decoration in a Christian church.1 Its political context includes the … [11], 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. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. They depict Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the annunciation, the Three Magi, the flight to Egypt and the coronation of the Virgin Mary. Ferri in ASRSP, vol. Lexington Books, 2007, Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights, liturgical feast of the anniversary of its dedication, Basilica of St. Lawrence outside the Walls, Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major, "Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura", "La visita alle Sette Chiese: cenni storici", Basilica memorial to celebrate the end of the French Wars of Religion, Sacred Destinations: SantaMariaMaggiore, Rome, "Pope Francis eschews trappings of papacy on first day in office", "Notizie sul capitolo ed arcipreti della basilica di s. Maria Maggiore", "The Concept of Rome in Late Antiquity reflected in the mosaics of the Triumphal Arch of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome", Eternal Word Television Network, Global Catholic Network (EWTN), Satellite Photo of St. Mary's Major Basilica, Roman Catholic ecclesiastical province of Rome, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Coats of arms of the Holy See and Vatican City, Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe, Palace of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Palace of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Pontificio Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide, Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici, Santi Martino e Sebastiano degli Svizzeri, Boncompagni Ludovisi Decorative Art Museum, Museo Storico Nazionale dell'Arte Sanitaria, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Santa_Maria_Maggiore&oldid=1000059391, Articles incorporating a citation from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Italian-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2014, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2019, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the New International Encyclopedia, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz place identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Francesco Napoleone Orsini (administrator 1298–1306), Pedro Luis Borja Lanzol de Romani (1510–1511), Antonio Despuig y Dameto (28 December 1803 – 2 May 1813), Giovanni Gallarati Scotti (1814 – 6 October 1819), Benedetto Naro (1 January 1824 – 6 October 1832), Luigi del Drago (29 August 1839 – 28 April 1845), Early Christian mosaic cycle depicting Old Testament events, 5th century, Altar, confessio and Presepio (crib) sculptures by, High-resolution 360° Panoramas and Images of, House of Retreat for the Clergy of Saints John and Paul, This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 10:18. The story is picked up again on the right (south) wall again adjacent to the sanctuary with the stories of Moses and Joshua. The architect Domenico Fontana designed the chapel, which contains the tombs of Sixtus V himself and of his early patron Pope Pius V. The main altar in the chapel has four gilded bronze angels by Sebastiano Torregiani, holding up the ciborium, which is a model of the chapel itself. This manuscript in the Vatican Library comes from the end of the fourth or early fifth century. Traditional Old Testament scenes like the story of Creation are omitted. The Blessed Virgin appears in the dreams of Pope Liberius and the Roman Patrician John, inspiring the location of the church. Beneath this altar is the Oratory or Chapel of the Nativity, on whose altar, at that time situated in the Crypt of the Nativity below the main altar of the church itself, Saint Ignatius of Loyola celebrated his first Mass as a priest on 25 December 1538. Pope Francis visited the basilica on the day after his election.[47]. A few have been entirely replaced. the Liberian Basilica) near the Macellum of Livia". The actual, official name seems to vary: the, Andrew J. Ekonomou. Scholars have characterized the period of Pope Sixtus III as the Sixtine Renaissance. These fines enabled the papacy to carry out through the 5th century an ambitious building program, including Santa Maria Maggiore. In 1953, the icon was carried through Rome to initiate the first Marian year in church history. [10] 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. The interior of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the frescoes, mosaics and lots of gold are well known. [3] However, the Holy See fully owns the Basilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof[4] and to concede to it "the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States. [38] The apse mosaic, the Coronation of the Virgin, is from 1295, signed by the Franciscan friar, Jacopo Torriti. [17], No Catholic church can be honoured with the title of "basilica" unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom. Our gallery showcases one of this great artist’s two major works: the mosaics in the apse of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (his other masterpiece is the mosaic in the apse of San Giovanni in Laterano, also in Rome). A test case is given by the mosaics of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome". 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, which proclaimed Mary Mother of God. The other three are the basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter, and St. Paul outside the Walls. The Salus Populi Romani has been a favourite of several popes and acted as a key Mariological symbol. Located on the Esquiline Hill, Santa Maria Maggiore was founded in 432, just after the Council of Ephesus in 431, which upheld the belief that Mary truly was the mother of God; it was thus the first great church of Mary in Rome. This name for the basilica had become popular in the 14th century[5] 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. 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. Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilicas, was built by Pope Sixtus III (r. 432-440) shortly after the Council of Ephesus (431) agreed to promote the veneration of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. Its plan was based on Hellenistic principles stated by Vitruvius at the time of Augustus. St. Mary Major was associated with the Patriarchate of Antioch. [28][29] Certainly, the atmosphere that generated the council gave rise also the mosaics that adorn the interior of the dedication: "whatever the precise connection was between council and church it is clear that the planners of the decoration belong to a period of concentrated debates on nature and status of the Virgin and incarnate Christ. [6] 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. Byzantine Rome and Greek Popes. "[43], Under the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary designed by Giuseppe Valadier said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ. The design of the basilica was a typical one during this time in Rome: "a tall and wide nave; an aisle on either side; and a semicircular apse at the end of the nave. Cardinal Pietro Capocci (died 1259) is mentioned in the majority of the catalogs of archpriests of Liberian Basilica but the documents from the archive of the Basilica, published by Ferri in ASRSP, vol. The mosaics found in Santa Maria Maggiore are one of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary in Christian Late Antiquity. - See 16,072 traveler reviews, 9,824 candid photos, and great deals for Rome, Italy, at Tripadvisor. The processions began in different parts of the city, but rather than finally converging on St Peter's, who was always the traditional protector of Rome, he instead ordered the processions to converge on Mary Major instead.[34]. [30] One of the first scenes that were visible on the triumphal arch was a panel of Christ's enthronement with a group of angels as his court. 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[citation needed] due to the deteriorated state of the Lateran Palace. Marcus Aurelius Sacrificing from the Quedlinburg Itala fragment are one of the oldest program. Looks back to classical forms in Olomouc, the frescoes, mosaics lots..., Even though Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the archpriest has been a favourite several. Reported only after AD 1000 the first Marian year in church history Franciscan Friars of church... 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