Our Lady of Campitelli

July 17: Our Lady of Campitelli, Italy (524)

The sanctuary of Sancta Maria in Campitelli is one of the most celebrated of Rome. It is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is located on the Piazza di Campitelli in Rome, Italy.

There is venerated at the church a precious image that was transported from the portico of the palace of the Roman matron, Galla Patrizia Seveath, to whom the Virgin herself appeared on July 17, 524. The icon is on 25 centimeters high. Mention is made of the miraculous appearance by Pope Gregory the Great. The image is known as Our Lady in the Portico, or the Madonna del Portico.

The church where the icon was kept was known as Santa Galla Antiqua, and it used to be located just north of the Piazza Bocca della Verita and west of the Via Petroselli. The church was destroyed by Mussolini under pretext that the street should be widened.

In the year 1618 the congregation was transferred to a new church known as Santa Maria in Campitelli, and the new church was finished in 1667. The work of the shrine is that of the architect Rainaldi. The new edifice was erected by vote of the people in thanksgiving for the preservation of the city from the pestilence of 1656, and was designed in the Baroque style. There are tall columns on the façade of the church that were intended to include statues, although the statues were never completed as originally planned.

The icon of Our Lady of Campitelli is surrounded by an ornate shrine, and there is a stairway behind the display that allows a closer inspection of the famous icon. It is not open to the general public.

Many times the sacred image of Our Lady of Campitelli has been carried in procession through the streets of Rome – the people invoking Mary’s protection against pestilence, epidemics and earthquakes. This image is also invoked under the title of Our Lady of Security, and two feasts are commemorated in Mary’s honor: February second and July seventh.

*from The Woman in Orbit and other sources

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