The Basilica of St Mary Major or Our Lady of the Snows, as it was formerly named, was built under Pope Sixtus III (432-440). The celebrated wall mosaics were created in the Byzantine style.
A contemporary of St Mary Major is the renowned
"Hagia Sophia" second church, located in present day Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Constantinople), inaugurated in 415 AD. More mention about that at the end.
It is likely that most if not all of the popes through out the centuries have venerated the Solus Populi Romani in some way. The current Pope is no exception.
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 Marian Shrine
The Basilica of St. Mary Major was the first Marian shrine in the West where the image of the Mother of God, was venerated.
“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 AD.”
The most famous icon at this Basilica is called Salus Populi Romani, and it is located at the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica.
An Ancient Byzantine Church Dedicated to Mother of God
It has proved to be a difficult "path to peace" for people all over the world.
Because of its proximity to Rome and its historical connection, I thought to re-share something I wrote on the Hagia Sophia, ancient seat of the Byzantine Empire. This was a political and spiritual entity, not always holy as envisioned, overrun by Westerners during the Crusades and eventually claimed by the Ottomans.
The past winter, I summarized chapter by chapter, a book written by British author and journalist, Lord Kinross, entitled Hagia Sophia. He details the rise and fall of the great church of Hagia Sophia. The book was written mid-century, after relations between the West and Turkey had thawed. Many of the photos are exclusives of this book.
I didn't add too many comments of my own, but instead, pulled out some of the more interesting details and records offered by the author in a very condensed form. Winters are long in Wisconsin so there was plenty of time to do this.
Here's the Link to that series of pages.
Lurking behind the pages of this book, were questions about Hagia Sophia's future and those remained unanswered.
The author noted Istanbul's (old Constantinople) and the regions turbulent history.
When you look at the map on the left, you see how close all of these countries are to one another. Think of the spiritual and historical connections, and then say a little prayer.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
My website template has been updated. NOTES pages might have font and pictorial placement discrepancies.
All content ©LumenChristiArt.com,
Christine M. (CM) Jentz.
For comments or inquiries please
contact me. Commissions accepted.
“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)