Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 20 April |
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Towards Easter: Virtually visit St. John Lateran and the Holy Stairs

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Marinella Bandini - published on 03/28/21

Station Church Day 39: Let us climb with Jesus to Calvary.

Aleteia invites you to a virtual Lenten pilgrimage through Rome’s 42 station churches: one church per day, from February 17 to April 11.

Day 39

The most important time of Lent is beginning: Holy Week. Today we return to St. John Lateran. The liturgy, with the blessing of the palms, recalls the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem—but also His Passion.

Next to the basilica, and once part of the Lateran Palace, there’s one of the relics par excellence of the Passion: the “Scala Santa” (the “Holy Stairs”). Tradition says it’s the staircase climbed by Jesus in the palace of Pontius Pilate. It arrived in Rome in the year 326 thanks to St. Helena. It consists of 28 marble steps, worn down by millions of pilgrims who over the centuries ascended it on their knees.

No foot should touch those steps, so much so that Innocent XIII had them covered with wooden boards. The faithful can climb only on their knees, a devotion practiced especially on Good Friday.

Pius IX promoted the devotion, entrusting the sanctuary to the Passionist Fathers. He himself climbed the Holy Stairs on his knees several times, including on September 19, 1870, the eve of the taking of Rome.

At the top of the Holy Stairs is “the most venerated shrine in Rome,” the “Sancta Sanctorum.” This chapel was the private oratory of the popes until the Renaissance. It holds numerous relics, including an image of the Holy Savior called “acheropita,” not made by human hand. It is said to have been painted by St. Luke with the help of an angel.

This week we face the ascent to Calvary with Jesus, so that we may also reach the Resurrection with Him.

Although Jesus Christ was in the form of God,he did not regard equality with Godas something to be exploited… He humbled himselfand became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.Philippians 2:6.8

* In collaboration with the Social Communications Office of the Vicariate of Rome.




Read more:
Catholic doctor examines Christ’s Passion from a medical perspective

Read about the tradition of the station churches here. And see previous churches in the pilgrimage here.

Tags:
Station Churches
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
OSORNO
Brett Salkeld
How to vaccinate like a Catholic
7
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.