By Currents News Staff
For the first time in centuries, visitors to Rome can climb the stairs that Jesus ascended when he was brought before Pontius Pilate to be judged ahead of his crucifixion. The Rector of the Holy Stairs, Father Francesco Guerra, says the Holy Stairs were brought to Rome from Jerusalem in the 4th century.
The new devotion is thanks to a recent restoration that removed wooden planks that had covered the stairs for 300 years. The work turned up a surprising discovery: deep grooves in the marble caused by wear and tear. They also revealed drops of Jesus’ blood that had fallen on the steps. Those sites are marked by medieval crosses in 3 places.
Frank Scherra is a U.S soldier stationed in Germany who climbed the stairs with his 6 children. He explained that the devotional means a “time to reflect and think about people that had an impact on my faith and my family and those that I know are in heaven or trying to get there; a chance to pray for them.” Others have recounted stories of conversions and deeply emotional experiences from their climb.
At the top of the stairs is a room called the Holy of Holies. It was once a private chapel of Popes and it contains relics of saints and one of the oldest icons of Jesus found in Rome, dating to the 5th century.
The stairs will soon be covered over again with wood to protect the marble, but for the next few weeks visitors to Rome can literally walk or at least kneel on what are believed to be the original footsteps of Jesus.