The Basilica of Saint Maternus (Basilique Saint-Materne) is a minor basilica in Walcourt. According to legend, an oratory was founded here by Maternus of Cologne (c. 285–315), who also carved a Madonna to replace an earlier pagan idol. The church does in fact contain a wooden Madonna, albeit from 950–1020, but still one of the oldest preserved Marian devotional statues in Western Christianity.
The church was consecrated in 1026. The presence of the Madonna and its allegedly miraculous properties led to the development of the church into a pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. Subsequently, the church was rebuilt into the Gothic edifice seen today between the 13th and 16th centuries.
It contains a decorated rood screen from 1521, donated by Emperor Charles V, and decorated choir stalls from the early 16th century. The church has been damaged by fire and war on several occasions, most recently in May 1940 during World War II. Since 1941 it has been a listed building, and since 1950 classified as a minor basilica.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.