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Rirella Editrice - rirella.editrice@gmail.com
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Event Date: 2024/05/19


On May 19, 2024, at the end of the solemn Mass of Pentecost, thousands of rose petals were thrown from the oculus of the dome, completely covering the floor.

This very ancient rite seems to date back to 609 AD, and recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the twelve apostles in the form of tongues of fire. The rose petals have in fact the shape and most of all the color of tongues of fire.
«Suddenly a roar came from the sky... Tongues of fire appeared to them, which divided and rested on each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues...».

The dominant color is the purple red of the petals and of the vestments of priests and cardinals, which recalls the symbols of Roman imperial power, that is, the purple color of the togas of senators and emperors.
The Roman emperor also was Pontifex Maximus, the highest priestly office of ancient Rome, a title that was inherited by the Popes as a sign of the continuity of power from the empire to the Church.

Another symbol of continuity is the choice of the Pantheon as site for the imperial tombs. In Roman times there were statues of dead and deified emperors, a symbolic simulacrum. In modern times the Pantheon was chosen for the tomb of the first kings of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I of Savoy.
For the sarcophagi of emperors or kings the the imperial stone par excellence is used:  red porphyry, once again the purple color.

This and much more about the symbols of power is explained in our book «Pantheon. Architecture and Light».

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