Meditation on "Salus Populi Romani", God Bearer Icon at St Mary Major, "Protectress of the Roman People"
Since I received a print copy of this icon, I thought to learn more about it:
Update. Shown here are the before and after restoration photos of 2018.Legend tells us that icon St. Luke rendered the first images of the Mother of God and this one is part of that historical thread. Copies of his works circulated and have were embellished greatly (to this very day). To note, NO ONE KNOWS what happened to the St Luke first images. You see here the blue mantle over the red tunic which was more popular in The Byzantine Italian churches. The blue tunic and mantle was first introduced as a standard in early Byzantine churches.
A Short Study of Salus Populi Romani Part 0ne and Part Two
Salus Populi Romani
"Protectress" or "Health of the Roman People"
Mary, Mother of God, it is our Christian belief that all who fashion their lives in imitation of your son, Jesus Christ, and have placed their hope in him are gathered together in a communion of saints. Those who have gone before us live in intimate communion with Christ. You are the most eminent of them, for you were drawn into his life and being as no other. You who gave him human life followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Mary, look at us. Look at all who are centered on your son. At the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is ' (Lumen Gentium, 49; See: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), #954). All of God's people hunger to be intimately one with him.
A Miraculous Legacy
During the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great (590-604) a plague viciously attacked the people of Rome, killing entire families. The pontiff fervently prayed to the Blessed Mother. During the Easter festivals he carried her image in solemn procession. Arriving at Hadrian's Mausoleum (now called San Angelo), an angelic choir was heard singing the joyful Resurrection hymn:
Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia;
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia;
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Without hesitation, the holy Pontiff added:
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
[Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia; for he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia; has risen as he said, alleluia; pray for us to God, alleluia.]
After the Pontiff spoke these words there appeared above Hadrian's Mausoleum (top) an angel, believed to be St. Michael, who replaced in his scabbard the sword of vengeance which he had held over the city.
*source for information: site link no longer active
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