Steps Jesus walked to trial restored to glory
One of the Roman Catholic Church's holiest relics, which contains the steps believed to have been climbed by Jesus on his way to trial before Pontius Pilate, has been restored to its former glory.
The Santa Scala, or Holy Stairs, were brought to Rome from Jerusalem in the fourth century AD and placed in the former papal palace opposite the basilica of St John Lateran.
However, restorers found that the sanctity of the staircase had not had an effect on the behaviour of some tourists. "We found chewing gum stuck to the wood of the stairs," said Alessandra Scerrato, the secretary of the Friends of the Holy Stairs association.
The 28 white marble steps, which are encased in wood for their protection, are so holy that pilgrims are only allowed to ascend on their knees.
The kneeling position also allows them to gaze through holes in the wood which allegedly reveal spots of Christ's blood on the marble beneath. Pilgrims who ascend the staircase are given a full indulgence of their sins.
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