The Sanctuary of Scala Santa in Rome is among the most illustrious and well-known of the Roman Catholic world. Situated in Piazza San Giovanni in Lateran, the Sanctuary has the ancient Chapel of the Popes which is called the Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of the Holies) wherein the highly venerated relics of saints like of St. Agnes, St. Lorenzo and the heads of Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, were once kept. On the altar, the image of our Holy savior can be found. It is called the Acheropite Image, which means an image not painted by the human hand.
The Sanctuary owe its name to the 28 steps comprising the Holy Stairs which was brought by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, from Jerusalem to Rome during medieval ages. They are the steps that Jesus Christ climbed up several times when He was being sentenced to death by Pilate.
The Scala Santa Sanctuary was entrusted to the Passionists Congregation by Pio IX in 1853 and is part of the Holy See’s property.
Many devotees climbed the steps on their knees including the Founder of the Passionists, St. Paul of the Cross.
Indulgences can be acquired by the faithful by climbing up the stairs on their knees and meditating Jesus Christ’s passion (with certain conditions, one can read before climbing).
(By: Lorna R. Tolentino-SSFC, with the permission of: Rev. Fr. Francesco Guerra, CP (Rector of Scala Santa/SD)