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mary majorIn 431 the Council of Ephesus declared the Blessed Virgin to be the ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos) and shortly afterwards Pope Sixtus III dedicated the restored Basilica of St Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill in her honour.  According to tradition its location had originally been indicated by a miraculous shower of snow on 5 August, in the middle of the Roman summer, hence the title ‘Our Lady of the Snows.’  The basilica is considered the most important as well as the oldest church in the West dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the festival of its dedication renews our links with Rome. – CTS New Daily Roman Missal 2012, p 2878; Christian Prayer 1990, p 1183.

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