On the twentieth annivesary of Peregrinatio Studies, leaders Gerald Hobbs and Lynne McNaughton are leading 38 pilgrims from Catacombs to Christendom: A Spiritual Journey in Central Italy.
In the opening session, Lynne pointed out that we are people on a journey. So why a pilgrimage and why this one? Perhaps we can find answers while on our travels to discover the ancient stories of our Christian past? During the next couple of days we will explore what it was like before Christ in the Roman Empire.
On pilgrimage, we are in transition. Lynne gave an image of being in transition having an end, then a time of uncertainty leading to a new beginning. That time of uncertainty is the place where God is in action.
Today we visited the Pantheon in the centre of Rome. This huge rotunda began as a temple to many gods, built by Agrippa during the time of Augustus 44 BCE- 14AD. The temple was destroyed and later rebuilt by Hadrian in about 120. It wasn’t until the 7th century that it was finally declared a Christian site. Although I have visited the Pantheon a number of times, entering the rotunda still causes me to catch my breath in awe of the architecture of beauty and grace of the immense dome, that is the model for all domes built since those early centuries.
Later we stopped at the Santa Croche Gerusalemme church, which holds a relic of the true cross. Given to Rome by St. Helena, Constantine”s mother in the 4th C., pilgrims have been visiting these relics for 1600 years, in faith.
Again, we ask ourselves, why pilgrimage and why this one?