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.
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.
It has proved to be a difficult "path to peace" for people all over the world.
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.
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.