Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 20 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Paul of the Cross
Aleteia logo
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

From “all the gods” to “all the martyrs”: Virtually visit the Pantheon

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Marinella Bandini - published on 04/09/21

Station Church Day 51: This symbol of Rome has been a church for 1,400 years.

Aleteia invites you to a virtual Lenten pilgrimage through Rome’s 42 station churches: one church per day, from February 17 to April 11.

Day 51

It’s been a symbol of Rome for 2,000 years, but few know that for the past 1,400 years it has also been a church dedicated to Mary Queen of Martyrs.

The procession of station churches stops today at the Pantheon, the large circular building famous for its dome (the largest in the world) and its “eye” (or “oculus”). It was built by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125, over the remains of an earlier temple. It was transformed into a church under Pope Boniface IV, who kept the structure unchanged, although the dedication to “Mary Queen of Martyrs” overturned the pagan dedication to “all gods.”

The dedication of this church to all the martyrs could actually be at the origin of the feast of All Saints, which was later moved to November 1.

The church was consecrated on May 13, 609. It was the day of Pentecost, and even today, on Pentecost, a shower of rose petals descends from the oculus, as the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and Mary.

Shortly after the original dedication of the temple, the emperor removed the bronze that adorned it to meet military expenses. The rest was removed by Pope Urban VIII, of the Barberini family, in 1632. Hence the Roman saying: “What the barbarians didn’t do, the Barberini did.” The pope spread the news that the bronze was intended for the baldacchino in St. Peter’s basilica. In reality, almost all of it was probably used for the cannons of Castel Sant’Angelo.

Famous artists, including Raphael, and the kings of Italy Vittorio Emaniele II and Umberto I are buried in the Pantheon.

Jesus is “the stone that was rejectedby you, the builders;it has become the cornerstone.”Acts 4:11

Read about the tradition of the station churches here. And see previous churches in the pilgrimage here.

* In collaboration with the Office for Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome.

Tags:
Station Churches
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
difficult people
Zoe Romanowsky
How to love people you don’t really like
2
saint teresa of Avila
Zelda Caldwell
Now there’s a computer font based on St. Teresa of Avila’s handwr...
3
AVENIDO BROTHERS
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
4
SQUID GAMES
Philip Kosloski
How the violence in ‘Squid Game’ can impact your soul
5
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
6
JUAN ELIAS MEDINA
Kathleen N. Hattrup
A martyr’s last letter to his mother
7
Theresa Civantos Barber
How following Christ is like falling in love
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.