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The Scala Santa: A Holy Place in Rome

2013-03-26

FR. FRANCESCO GUERRA
Rector, Scala Santa

"They are the steps of Pilate's judgment hall, where Jesus was sentenced to death. So Jesus walked up these steps before the trial.”

So now,  every day, pilgrims climb the 28 marble steps, on their knees, as a sign of devotion, penance and reflection.

FR. FRANCESCO GUERRA
Rector, Scala Santa

"The pilgrims honor the place where Jesus passed by. The place where he was wrongly convicted as He offered himself to the Father saying 'Yes. Yes to his brothers, and to us.'  They climb this ladder while they reflect on Jesus' Passion. For believers it's very moving.”

Back in 1723 a layer of wood was added on to the steps to protect them, from all the pilgrims who climb them. Surrounded by frescoes, these painted walls help pilgrims remember Jesus' Passion.

FR. FRANCESCO GUERRA
Rector, Scala Santa

"They help pilgrims reflect on the life of Jesus. The frescoes start from the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and instituted the Eucharist. Other stages of the Passion, are also represented,  before arriving to his death and Resurrection.”

Pope Sixtus V ordered the construction of this building between 1586 and 1589. There are also  two sculptures depicting the kiss of Judas and Pilate turning Jesus to his fate. Since the year 1853, the Passionist Fathers have cared and kept this Christian treasure, generation after generation.


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