Feast of Our Lady of the Snows
Date: 8/4/2013 11:22:21 PM ( 8 y ) ... viewed 977 times
Feastday August 5th
Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows
dates back to 352 A.D.
In that year a rectangle of snow was discovered on Mount Esquiline,
one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome
According to tradition, on the night of August 4th,
a childless aristocratic Roman couple dreamed that
the Blessed Virgin Mary instructed them to go to the Esquiline Hill
in the morning where they would find a plot of land covered with snow.
Mary told them that a church consecrated to her
should be built on the snow-covered plot of land.
On this same night, she also appeared to Pope Liberius in a dream
telling him of her desire.
The next morning the couple went to Pope Liberius
to tell him about their dream.
The pope then led a procession to the spot indicated in the dream
and discovered that snow had indeed fallen on the Esquiline Hill.
Snowfall of any sort was unheard of in Rome at that time of year.
People crowded to see the patch of snow,
which persisted despite the heat,
amazed that it had fallen in only one place.
All of Rome proclaimed the summer snow a miracle,
and the couple accepted this as a sign that
hey were to use their wealth to help build the church.
As soon as the plot for the building had been staked out
the snow melted.
On that site, the pope built a shrine to the Holy Virgin.
Originally the church was called Santa Maria ad Nives
(St. Mary of the Snows).
Later known as Santa Maria Liberiana
and then as Santa Maria ad Praesepe, because relics
of the manger of Bethlehem had been brought to the church,
the basilica eventually became known as
Santa Maria Maggiore St. Mary Major
because it is the largest of all the churches in Rome
dedicated to the Blessed Mother.
Construction on the current church structure began in the 5th century. Pope Sixtus III wished to build a church to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary after the Council of Ephesus (AD 431) had solemnly DE CLAREd her to be the Theotokos,
Mother of God
The Basilica contains the Salus Populi Romani
"Protectress of the Roman People"
an ancient miraculous image of the Madonna and Infant Jesus
composed in the Byzantine style.
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