Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By New Liturgical Movement (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

The Holy Stairs Unveiled in Rome

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Two days ago, one of Rome’s most important and beloved sacred monuments was made accessible to the faithful after the completion of a lengthy and very much needed restoration. The Holy Stairs are said to be the very ones which the Lord climbed on the way to His trial before Pilate, discovered by St Helena and sent to Rome; since the reign of Pope Sixtus V (1585-90), they have been housed within a special shrine across the street from the cathedral of St John in the Lateran. The fresco work on the walls to either side of the stairs and on the ceiling above them was in dire need of cleaning and repair, which necessitated closing them off completely, although the shrine itself remained open. The restoration is now completed, and pilgrims now once again are able to honor Christ’s Passion by climbing them, which is always done on one’s knees.

Photo courtesy of Joacob Stein.

By the year 1732, most of the individual stairs had deep grooves worn into them, and in a few places, had been worn completely through, by the passage of so many centuries of pilgrims. They were therefore encased in thick walnut covers to protect them, although they could still be seen and touched through slots in the wood. These covers are themselves in need of repair, so while they are being worked on, pilgrims can ascend on the bare marble of the original stairs. (For the sake of those who have mobility issues, it should be noted that the grooves and the smoothness of the marble make the climb much more difficult than it is when the stairs are covered.) The wooden covers will be put back on after Pentecost. In this report from Catholic News Service, made when they were first removed a few weeks ago, you can see the many pieces of paper on which people had written prayers and then slipped them between the covers. There are also certain spots on the stairs which are seen marked off with grills (these have now been removed), traditionally said to be marked with drops of Christ’s Blood.

The great Catholic novelist Evelyn Waugh had a special devotion to St Helena, and in his fictionalized account of her life, gives a very funny explanation of how the Holy Stairs might have come to Rome in the first place. When St Helena arrives in Jerusalem, she is taken on a tour of the local governor’s palace, which he refers to, in the language of British Imperial administration, as “Government House.” (The book is filled with clever anachronisms of this sort.)

“Helena, alighting, seemed to regard the place critically. The major-domo … tried to put a good face on it by remarking that this was originally Pilate’s Praetorium. It might have been. No one was quite sure. On the whole most people thought that it was, though certainly much altered. Helena was plainly impressed. The major-domo went further. These marble steps, he explained, were the identical stairway which Our Lord had descended on his way to death. The effect was beyond his expectation. The aged empress knelt down, there and then in her travelling cloak, and painfully and prayerfully climbed the twenty-eight steps on her knees. … Next day she ordered her private cohort of sappers to take the whole staircase to pieces, number them, crate them and pack them on wagons. ‘I am sending it to Pope Sylvester,’ she said. ‘A thing like this ought to be in the Lateran. You clearly do not attach proper importance to it here.’

Then, having rendered Government House uninhabitable she bade her court find billets where they could, and herself settled in a single small room among the nuns of Mount Zion where she did her own housework and took her turn in waiting at table.

The Holy stairs left for the coast in a train of wagons. Macarius (the bishop of Jerusalem) and his chapter (sic!) watched them go aghast. Royal collectors had been known to strip whole provinces of their works of art. The Church of Jerusalem had unique treasures – the crown of thorns, the lance, the shroud and many others. Were they to lose now, in the hour of liberation, what they had guarded so devotedly through all the years of persecution? They conferred and decided to make one great present. They would thus at the same time express their loyalty to the throne and emphasize their right of possession in all they had. They gave Helena the Holy Coat, which a soldier won at dice and sold later to a disciple.” (This last item is kept at Trier in Germany, where St Helena did indeed live for a time; it was exposed for the veneration of the faithful in 2012.)

The Holy Coat of Trier, during the exposition of 1933


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Humic & Fulvic Liquid Trace Mineral Complex

HerbAnomic’s Humic and Fulvic Liquid Trace Mineral Complex is a revolutionary New Humic and Fulvic Acid Complex designed to support your body at the cellular level. Our product has been thoroughly tested by an ISO/IEC Certified Lab for toxins and Heavy metals as well as for trace mineral content. We KNOW we have NO lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum etc. in our Formula. This Humic & Fulvic Liquid Trace Mineral complex has high trace levels of naturally occurring Humic and Fulvic Acids as well as high trace levels of Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Potassium and more. There is a wide range of up to 70 trace minerals which occur naturally in our Complex at varying levels. We Choose to list the 8 substances which occur in higher trace levels on our supplement panel. We don’t claim a high number of minerals as other Humic and Fulvic Supplements do and leave you to guess which elements you’ll be getting. Order Your Humic Fulvic for Your Family by Clicking on this Link , or the Banner Below.

Our Formula is an exceptional value compared to other Humic Fulvic Minerals because...


It Always Tests at 9.5+ pH

Preservative and Chemical Free

Allergen Free

Comes From a Pure, Unpolluted, Organic Source

Is an Excellent Source for Trace Minerals

Is From Whole, Prehisoric Plant Based Origin Material With Ionic Minerals and Constituents

Highly Conductive/Full of Extra Electrons

Is a Full Spectrum Complex

Our Humic and Fulvic Liquid Trace Mineral Complex has Minerals, Amino Acids, Poly Electrolytes, Phytochemicals, Polyphenols, Bioflavonoids and Trace Vitamins included with the Humic and Fulvic Acid. Our Source material is high in these constituents, where other manufacturers use inferior materials.

Try Our Humic and Fulvic Liquid Trace Mineral Complex today. Order Yours Today by Following This Link.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.