The Porta Santa (Holy Door) of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore was blessed by Pope St John Paul II (r. 1978-2005) on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th), 2001.
The bronze door, which is the work of Luigi Enzo Mattei, was financed by the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
The two main panels depict the Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ. Two of Mary's titles are inscribed above. The Council of Ephesus proclaimed her as MATER DEI (Mother of God), while the Second Vatican Council declared her to be MATER ECCLESSIAE (Mother of the Church).
The door is crowned with the coat-of-arms of Pope St John Paul II and his motto: TOTUS TUUS (All Yours).
There is a Porta Santa, which, by the way, is only open on the occasion of a Jubilee Year, in each of the four Papal Basilicas of Rome. In addition to Santa Maria Maggiore, these are San Giovanni in Laterano, San Pietro in Vaticano and San Paolo fuori le Mura.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
Search Walks in Rome: