Currents News Staff
Europe is experiencing one of its strongest heat waves in recent history. But in Rome, it’s snowing.
White rose petals drop from the ceiling of Saint Mary Major Basilica to commemorate the legend behind this church’s founding.
It holds that one summer night in the fourth century, the Virgin Mary appeared to a noble Roman couple in a dream and told them to build a Church in her honor where they found snow the next morning.
That same night, the pope had the same dream, and all three went to Rome’s Esquiline hill, which they found covered in snow despite the August heat.
It’s a story that still brings pilgrims from around the world to that same spot each Aug. 5, the feast of Our Lady of the Snows.
St. Mary Major was the first Marian church in Rome, built immediately after the council of Ephesus in 431 which proclaimed Mary as Mother of God.
Over 1,500 years after its construction, it continues to be a powerful statement on Mary’s central role in the Church.