Flowers and fire, with the rose rain in Rome’s Pantheon
This May 24, red rose petals will rain from the “eye in the sky” of Rome’s Pantheon, meant to symbolize the
tongues of fire in one of the most famous episodes in the “Acts of the Apostles”.
The disciples and Mary were in Jerusalem, having dinner together (probably in the home of Mark’s mother). It was Pentecost – the Hebrew holiday celebrating the harvest, fifty days after Pesach – and
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Then came the
tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The episode has always been commemorated in Rome with a traditional “rose rain”: a wonderful shower of red petals falling from the oculus in the dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria ad Martyres – the Pantheon – once the Pentecost mass is finished.
It is a beautiful Christian and Roman tradition.