I found myself passing this Major Basilica many times while in Rome last summer and today is the memorial of its dedication. It is found on the Esquiline Hill and erected by Pope Saint Sixtus III after the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 which declared Mary as Theotokos, Mother of God.
Saint Mary Major is perhaps the largest and oldest Church in the West honoring the Virgin Mary. Christians wanted to baptize the culture of Rome in order to preach Christ; therefore, this Basilica took on many similarities from the temple of Juno, the god of child birth.
The columns are that of the Ionic Order which have a rhythmic movement and feminine quality. They are perfectly matched with two arches above columns. These are solid posts that stand the test of time and it makes it the first greatest showcase Church built by Christians.
Yes. Mary is the Mother of God. Her womb was receptive to receiving the Word and brining forth the Savior of the world. We must look to her, to model our lives after her commitment in serving her Son and Lord. By doing so, our lives and bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit may stand the test of time.