Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pantheon Sunday

Oculus and Dome, Pantheon, Rome, Italy  © Doug Hickok

The magnificent dome of Rome's Pantheon is one of the architectural wonders of western civilization. Beyond the fact that it is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, it is still intact after nearly 2000 years (and looking as handsome as ever).  The entire space beneath the dome is awe inspiring, a man-made space like no other I've experienced. Perhaps it is the shear size of the rotunda or perhaps something even greater. There is a palpable all-encompassing energy that can be felt during certain clear headed moments. As I recall, the feeling gave me a little shiver of excitement.

The ancient Romans dedicated this temple to all the gods.
In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV preserved the Pantheon from destruction and had it converted into a Catholic church, dedicated to Mary and all the martyrs.

Needless to say, the Pantheon has deep spiritual gravitas.

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