Those visiting Rome this Easter are up for a once in a lifetime opportunity as they can walk on Scala Sancta, the footsteps of Jesus himself. The Vatican has decided to display the staircase on which Jesus walked before he was crucified at the hands of Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judaea. By Kumar Shree

The Vatican has decided to unveil the holy staircase, also known as the Scala Sancta in Latin for the first time in 300 years. The same staircase is believed to have been stained by the blood of Jesus as he was crucified. The staircase is said to have been transported to the Vatican in the fourth century from Pontius Pilate’s home in Jerusalem by St. Helena.

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While the staircase remained exposed to the visitors for the longest time, it was in 1753 that Pope Innocent XIII decided to cover the same by wooden planks. The 28-steps staircase could not take up the wear-and-tear from thousands of visitors as they kneeled down to kiss and touch the steps. Keeping the same in mind, the steps were decided to be covered with wooden planks.

Since the staircase will be under an extensive restoration for the next two months, it is during the same window that pilgrims would be able to witness and even walk on the exposed original marble steps. The same is being open to the public after a year-long restoration. Once the restoration is entirely done with, the staircase will again be covered with wooden planks on June 9.

Not only the staircase, but the visitors will also get to see the new and restored frescoes on the walls and ceilings of the Vatican. At the top of this staircase, there is a small room called Holy of Holies, and the same used to be a private chapel of popes. The room also contains some icons of Jesus ,which were found in Rome and are said to be dated back to the fifth century.

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