It is believed that Friday the 13th is an inauspicious day for the fact that the number 13 is an unlucky number in several devotional practices. The number 12 is considered the number of the heavens and completeness. For example, 12 months of the year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 stations of the moon, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 tribes of Israel, and the 12 apostles. But who invited Judas to dinner?
Some of the superstition connected to Friday the 13th stems from the belief that the number 13 transcends the regularity of 12, thus bringing misfortune. In the case of the Last Supper, 13 people seated at a dinner table will result in the death of one of the guests.
In Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper (fresco in Milan, tapestry in the Vatican Museums), one can visualize esoteric numerology in the composition of the guests seated at the table. Notice there are 4 groups of 3 people adding up to 12, and 1 Jesus Christ.
The number 3 is commonly understood in Christianity to represent the holy trinity. The amalgamation of father, son and Holy Spirit collectively sealing our fate is connected to the Capitoline triad consisting of another group of 3 supreme deities worshiped in temples all over Rome, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (drawing even further back on Etruscan mythology).
The number 4 connects to the earthly, as in the 4 elements (fire, air, water, earth), and the 4 seasons. Jesus as one in the center thus represents the mathematical proportion of the entire table, both the earthly and the divine.
Emperor Hadrian nevertheless thought he was the one and only. He built the Pantheon around the year 119 A.D. The building was intended for both civic and religious purposes with Hadrian as the high priest overseeing all human and superhuman affairs. The central and most important part of the design is the oculus (30 ft. hole installed into the 140ft cement dome). The number one is the source of all numbers, and in the Pantheon, the source of all light. The oculus of the Pantheon may be interpreted as a visible sign of Hadrian himself. One wonders what he would think now that the ancient temple has been converted into a Christian church.
The restructuring of the Pantheon temple into a Christian church is just another example of the streamlining of buildings and enigmatic traditions in Rome, germane to our contemporary superstitions and special days!