(St. Mary Major) Santa Maria Maggiore is a patriarchal basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The appellation of this church is confusing to many - it means that this is Rome's major or principal church dedicated to St Mary. S. Maria Maggiore was built in 431 A.D. and the apse was rebuilt in the 13th century. The basilica is rich in works of art, among them the frescos by Guido Reni (1575 - 1642) and the coffered ceiling by Giuliano Giamberti, called Giuliano da Sangallo (1443 - 1516). Under the altar is a crypt containing the remains of St. Matthais, who was the Apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. In front of the confessional, which holds the relics of the Nativity, is a kneeling statue of Pope Pius IX. It lies on the summit of the Esquiline Hill, which was mainly laid out as gardens in ancient times. Legend 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 August 5th, when white rose petals are dropped from the dome during the festal Mass.