Route: THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE POPES. JUBILEE WORKS
Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore www.vatican.va Every…
You are along the route: THE MIRACULOUS IMAGES. MERCY BECOMES ART
The Salus Populi Romani
Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore
Every day 7:00-18:45. Free entry.
The Madonna in Santa Maria Maggiore is the most important Marian icon in Rome and has been housed in the Basilica since the twelfth century, however it certainly pre-dates that period. Pope Paul V was responsible for the construction of the Borghese Chapel in order to conserve the sacred image.
The icon shows the Virgin and Child in her left arm and He holds a book in His left hand, blessing with His right. The mappula (a type of ceremonial scarf), which the Madonna is holding, indicates that she is the Regina Coeli and the Greek inscription on the golden background identifies her as the Mother of God (Theotokos). Repeatedly crowned over the centuries, it was only after the papal decision of the nineteenth that it was called Salus Populi Romani because it was considered miraculous by the people and is invoked when epidemics or disasters loom over Rome. In 593 Pope Gregory I carried it in procession to stop the plague; in 1571 Pope Pius V asked her to grant victory in the epochal battle of Lepanto, which saw the Muslim fleets of the Ottoman Empire oppose the Christian Holy League.
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