Dedication of the Basilica St. Mary Major

Today is an optional memorial of the dedication of the basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. It sits on the Esquiline hill and is the oldest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Western Church. Pope Sixtus III had the basilica built after the Council of Ephesus in 431 after the Council defined Mary as the Mother of God, Theotokos in Greek.

It is a magificent structure that I have seen several times. If you would like a tour, log on to Santa Maria Maggiore and click on “Virtual Tour.”

I thought I would share an excerpt from a homily St. Cyril of Alexandria gave to the Council Fathers during the Council of Ephesus. In this homily, he has some lofty things to say about the Blessed Mother.
(My translation of the Italian text I used.)

We salute you, O Mary, Mother of God, venerable treasure of the entire world, a lamp inestinguishable, crown of virginity, scepter of right doctrine, indestructable temple, dwelling of he who is not limited to any place, mother and virgin for whom the holy gospels call “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Hail, you who have welcomed into your virginal womb he who is immense and infinite. Because of you the holy Trinity is glorified and adored. Because of you the precious Cross is celebrated and adored in every corner of the earth. Because of you the heavens exult. Because of you the angels and archangels rejoice. Because of you the demons are put to flight. Because of you the tempter devil is thrown from heaven. Because of you fallen creation is lifted to heaven. Because of you all of humankind, slave to idolatry,arrives at the knowledge of the truth. Because of you believers come to the grace of baptism. Because of you comes the oil of happiness. Because of you the churchs in all the world are founded. Because of you the peoples are brought to penitence…. Because of you the only begotten Son of God shines with that light on “those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Because of you the prophets prophesied. Because of you the Apostles have preached throughout the world. Through you the dead are raised. Because of you kings reign in the name of the holy Trinity.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Blessed Virigin. Bookmark the permalink.