Unusual Weather ....

I'm in France, but have kept my eye on the horrible weather in London - a tornado, hail settling like a blanket of heavy snow - photos here. It's easy to blame unseasonal weather on Climate Change.

But there is a church built in Rome to commemorate snow in August. Santa Maria della Neve (Our Lady of the Snow) is better know as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, but one of its original names records "claims that the plan of the church was outlined by a miraculous snowfall in August (possibly in 358). The legend is commemorated every year on 5 August, when white rose petals are dropped from the dome during the Mass."

Pope Liberius' basilica soon had to be re-built by Sixtus III, and mosaics from this 5th century phase are still visible inside. St. Jerome's mortal remains are housed in the crypt beneath the church (d. 419). Although the church, built over a Roman temple of Cybele, has been repeatedly damaged and re-built, it to this day preserves the original 'snow' plan (Google Earth photo; architectural plan).

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Vatican web site with great photos.

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