The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, is an ancient Roman Catholic Marian basilica of Rome. It is digit of the quaternary field or quaternary papal basilicas, which, together with St. Lawrence outside the Walls, were formerly referred to as the five “patriarchal basilicas” of Rome, associated with the five ancient patriarchal sees of Christendom (see Pentarchy). The other three papal or field basilicas are St. John Lateran, St. Peter and St. Paul outside the Walls.
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The Liberian Basilica (another title for the church) is digit of the tituli, presided over by a patron—in this case Pope Liberius—that housed the field congregations of early Christians in Rome. Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its example structure, left intact despite several additional construction projects and alteration from the earthquake of 1348.
The name of the faith reflects two ideas of greatness (“major”), that of a field (or papal) basilica and that of the maximal (major) faith in leaders dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After the Avignon papacy formally ended and the Papacy returned to Rome, the Basilica became a temporary Palace of the Popes due to the deteriorated state of the site Palace. The papal residence was later moved to the Palace of the Vatican in what is today Vatican City.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome GPS coordinates:41° 53′ 51″ N, 12° 29′ 55″ E
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