The Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Angelo De Donatis, will officially inaugurate the restored central staircase of the Holy Stairs in Rome with a special benediction on April 11, 2019. These original marble steps will be accessible to the faithful until June 9, 2019, the Feast of the Pentecost. During these two months, thousands of faithful from all over the world are expected to come to pray on the same stairs traveled by Jesus at the Praetorium in Jerusalem before his sentence to death by Pontius Pilot.
After this temporary view of the original, their walnut wood covering will be repositioned; in 1723 it covered the marble steps by express wish of Pope Innocent XIII in order to protect the staircase from the many faithful who climbed it on their knees. Today one can see the notable traces of wear through the centuries. This is the first time in 300 years that the 28 steps will be seen without the wooden protection, under which thousands of letters, notes, photos, and coins were found. According to Christian tradition, the stairs were brought to Rome in 326 AD by St. Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine. Four spots of Christ’s blood were thought to have stained the steps: three are covered with crosses (one of red porphyry and two in bronze), the fourth is protected by a metal grate, the area worn to a deep hole because the faithful touched that precise point with their fingers.
Program for the Inauguration:
3:30 pm Presentation of the restoration
4:30 pm Benediction of the Stairs
5:30 pm Holy Mass