Scala Sancta: Following In Christ’s Footsteps

The story behind the Scala Sancta is truly riveting. That’s why we suggest you to include it on your bucket list for your next trip to Rome — you won’t regret it!

Scala Sancta literally means Holy Stairs: The staircase is said the be the one climbed by Jesus on his way to reach Pontius Pilate — in fact, the Scala Sancta is also called Scala Pilati — who would pronounce his sentence to death moments right after. Saint Helena, Emperor Constantine mother, brought the steps to Rome in 326 AD.

Nowadays, the Scala Sancta is one of the most popular points of pilgrimage among Christians, because climbing the 28 steps on their knees grants the pilgrims a full indulgence of their sins. Due to the great confluence of faithful, the stairs have been covered with a wooden layer in order to prevent their wearing away.

Holy steps encased in wood for protection.

Now, the interesting thing is that you can either pay a simple visit to the holy stairway or climb it… on your knees. Such an ascension allows pilgrims to meditate on Christ’s fate and to observe the spots of the Savior’s blood on the marble steps.

As you plan to visit the Papal Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran, spare some time to climb the 28 steps of the Scala Sancta. The Holy Stairs are situated in the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs, just next to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. The visit must be booked ahead.

Sancta Sanctorum, the Roman Catholic chapel where the Holy Strairs are.

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