Holy Stairs Climbed By Jesus?By Phoebe Natanson for ABC News
After over a year of restoration, the 28 marble steps were unveiled Thursday.
After more than a year of restoration, the 28 steps that make up the “Scala Sancta,” or Holy Stairs, of the Pontifical Shrine in Rome were unveiled on Thursday, just in time for the thousands of people who will flock to Rome and the Vatican for Easter.
The steps were believed to be part of Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and are the same steps Jesus climbed before being tried by the Roman governor and sentenced to crucifixion.
It is believed that Emperor Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, brought the steps from Jerusalem to Rome in the fourth century once Christianity became the Roman Empire’s main religion. They are now housed in a building that contains part of the old papal Lateran Palace, across from the Basilica of St. John the Lateran in Rome.
Since the Middle Ages, when pilgrims started flocking to Rome to pray in churches and venerate relics, millions of faithful have made the traditional penitential ascent up the stairs on their knees as they pray and meditate on Christ’s passion.