On May 13, 609, Pope Boniface IV decided to transform the Pantheon into the Church of Santa Maria ad Martyres. Until now, the former temple of all Roman deities, since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, was largely unused. There is, however, a parable related to this event.
Medieval legend says that the mighty dome of the Pantheon was crowned in antiquity with a large pine cone. When Pope Boniface consecrated the Pantheon as a church, the evil spirits (ancient Roman deities) fled the building, and one of them, escaping through the dome, punched a hole (oculus), still visible today, and threw a pine cone from the roof.
William Tronzo, St. Peter's in the Vatican
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