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Original ‘Scala Sancta’—stairs Jesus mounted to face Pilate—exposed in Rome

March 18, 2019

The original Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs, believed to be the stairs that Jesus climbed to be judged by Pontius Pilate, have been opened to the public, after restoration work that exposed the 28 original marble steps.

The steps were reportedly brought back to Rome from Jerusalem by St. Helena in 362, and are now located beside the church of San Lorenzo, on the piazza of St. John Lateran basilica. As a pious devotion, pilgrims have traditionally mounted the stairs on their knees. But for years the marble steps themselves had been protected by wooden planks.

Restoration work, begun last year, exposed the marble steps, which are deeply grooved by the traffic of countless pilgrims over the centuries. The stairs are marked by inlaid crosses, apparently dating back to the 4th century, and by grates that were fixed in the marble, reportedly to protect spots that were stained by Jesus’ blood.

 


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