News World Rome's "Holy Stairs" bared for first time in 300 years (photos)

Rome’s “Holy Stairs” bared for first time in 300 years (photos)

Rome’s “Holy Stairs,” which some Catholics believe were climbed by Jesus in Jerusalem, have been uncovered from a protective wooden casing for the first time in nearly three centuries and restored.

The 28 marble steps will remain bare temporarily for devout pilgrims to climb on their knees with direct contact with the stone until they are covered again in June.

According to tradition, the stairs, known as the “Scala Sancta,” were part of Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome in 326 by St. Helen, the mother of Roman emperor Constantine, after she converted to Christianity.

But some scientists believe the stairs are only part of a legend or a symbolic replica of the stairs of Pilate’s palace.

Pilate was the Roman governor of the province of Judea who, according to the Bible, succumbed to demands by Jerusalem’s Jewish leaders that Jesus be crucified.

Pope Innocent XIII ordered the stairs encased in wood in 1723 to protect them from damage from pilgrims.

“We have seen these steps carved out in a totally unusual way. The feet of pilgrims had literally excavated them,” said Father Francesco Guerra, rector of the Holy Stairs Sanctuary, which hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit each year.

Under the wood, restorers found coins, photos, rosaries and small hand-written notes with prayers left over the years.

“Once we opened the first step and we found the first (small) cross, it was clear enough to everyone that what we were finding below could not be limited to a few experts,” said Paolo Violini, restoration specialist at the Vatican museums.

Frescoes from the 16th century on the ceiling and walls were also restored.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

PM Mitsotakis: Greece-Egypt’s agreement on maritime zones a national success

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that the agreement between Greece and Egypt for the delimitation of their maritime zones, reached on Thursday,...

Cyprus’ President calls on Cypriots to donate food for Lebanon

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades has called on Cypriot citizens, companies and businesses to contribute by donating generously to the campaign for collecting specific kinds...

Cyprus rescue teams begin operations in Beirut

Cyprus rescue teams which are in Lebanon began their operations since 7 am on Friday, in cooperation with a team from Qatar in Beirut`s...

Toddler almost drowned in Paralimni

A 14-month-old girl almost drowned on Friday morning at Paralimni. According to police, it was around 8:30 am when the baby girl who resides in...

Municipalities in partial suspension of payments

The chairman of the Union of Municipalities Andreas Vyras, revealed the dire financial situation in which the municipalities find themselves due to reduced revenues...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...