The New International Encyclopædia/Santa Maria Maggiore
SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE, mȧd-jō′rắ. One of the oldest churches in Rome, reputed to have been built about 352 by Pope Liberius and reërected in the fifth century. Old marble columns and mosaics of this date are preserved in the nave, also fine fifteenth-century mosaics of the Coronation of the Virgin. Over the altar in the Borghese Chapel is an old picture of the Virgin ascribed to Saint Luke. This is one of the five ‘patriarchal churches’ and derives its name of Saint Mary Major from its importance among the eighty churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin.