The Scala Santa will be closed for restoration in 2018.
It’s still possible to visit the church and a staircase beside the Scala Santa is available for the faithful to climb on their knees and receive the same special graces.
The Scala Santa are the stairs Jesus climbed the day He was condemned to death. Originally at Pontius Pilate’s Palace in Jerusalem, Saint Helena brought them to Rome in the fourth century.
They were placed at the Apostolic Palace at Saint John Lateran and led to the Pope’s private chapel, the Sancta Sanctorum.
The stairs were encased in wood and opened to the public about 400 years ago. Today, the faithful can climb the stairs on their knees. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Rome.
On the left and right are two other stairs cases so the faithful could walk down after making their pilgrimage up on their knees. For several hundred years, people would carve their names and the date into the walls, it’s a really cool thing to see. Important to note that it’s no longer allowed to do this 🙂
Rome being Rome, old and beautiful, it requires a bit of maintenance. For the last several years, the frescos over those left and right staircases have been meticulously restored. They look amazing! Unfortunately, the time has come for the frescos over the central staircase, the Scala Santa, to be restored.
I was concerned the wood on the stairs would be replaced, but I’ve been assured by the priest in charge, that it’s not happening this time.
The stairs will reopen January of 2019, and you can bet I’ll be one of the first ones there!
Catholic News Agency spoke with me about the closing. You can read that here.