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Rome Reports

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Holy Stairs reopen with original marble stairs and revived frescoes

The waiting is now over. The drawing back of this curtain reopened the Holy Stairs after a long renovation process on the stairs and frescoes above them.

The steps Jesus walked when condemned to death in Pontius Pilates' palace received a special blessing by Card. Angelo De Donatis, with the rector of the Sanctuary alongside.

Rector, Scala Santa
“The fact that now pilgrims can go up the Holy Stairs once again, we all really had a lot of expectations. It's very beautiful and important.”

The Vatican Museums also had a large role to play in the restoration. Since the 1920s, they've had a specific conservation laboratory for paintings and are known for their excellence in restoration and preservation.

Director, Vatican Museums
“It was natural that my predecessor has directors and the technicians 20 years ago started to work on the Holy Stairs, frescoes and the building. “It's amazing. It's a miracle and I feel myself a lucky woman to be part of all of that.”

Decorative Arts Dept., Vatican Museums
“This restoration that we presented today began in 2012. It restored the central frescoes above the Holy Stairs, which is the main path pilgrims take coming from the plaza in front and going to St. Lawrence's Chapel.”

Pilgrims lined up on this opening day to prayerfully climb up these stairs all on their knees.

“It was very difficult because the stairs are a bit worn down for my old knees. Yet, I did it will all my heart, thinking of Jesus who walked these stairs on His way to give His life for us.”

“It was marvelous. It was extremely beautiful, even doing it quickly. It is definitely worth it.”

The restoration unearthed inches of dirt, ticket stubs and plastic bags buried underneath the wood planks covering the marble. Additionally, each of the drops of blood believed to be from Jesus were still preserved on the marble stairs.

The special event began with a press conference and ended with a celebratory Mass, thankful for the opportunity to climb the original marble stairs Jesus Himself did, before they are once again covered with wood on Pentecost, June 9.