Mountain church Scala Santa

The adventure:


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It was a great adventure to reach this church located on a mountain. The roads we could reach by car were all narrow, one-way roads. Hoping that we wouldn’t run into another car when we went down because then we would have to back up and drive the road in reverse. Fortunately we were spared of that tricky exercise. Meanwhile we reached the hottest time of the day and we still had to find the old road to the church.

We soon found out that the road had lost its battle with Mother Nature, so we had to look elsewhere. Eventually we found a small mountain path, were dogs that walked on the property were clearly not happy with our visit. We had to take a long detour to reach another path. Unfortunately, the dogs heard us coming again, and came running barking. All I could do was raise my voice and make it clear to them that I was completely fed up with them! Luckily that worked because as fast as they came running, they ran away with their tails between their legs.

In what century was this church built?

The first evidence of the existence of the sacred site dates back to the 13th century, and was built in a small cave. Saints had decorated it with paintings and built an altar. Later the church was built as shown in the pictures.

What is a Scala Santa for staircase?

The text Scala Santa translated as holy staircase, struck me immediately. Later I discovered that it was inspired by the holy stairs in Rome, which lead to the personal chapel of the Pope (Italian: Scala Santa, Latin: Scala Sancta). This is a Roman Catholic shrine and a known pilgrimage site in Rome. According to the ancient scriptures, the sacred stairs would lead to the Praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was tried before being sentenced to crucifixion. Jesus is said to have climbed those stairs to get to Pilate. According to medieval legends, the staircase is said to have been brought from Jerusalem to Rome by Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, around 326 ad. The steps were constructed in “reverse order,” that is, from top to bottom, so that the workers did not have to stand on them and kneel to do their work. Perhaps this was the basis of the current ritual that believers undertake; you should take the 28 steps in prayer and on your knees. Today many Catholic believers climb the entire staircase on their knees, praying and asking for forgiveness. Believers can earn a full pardon as they climb the Holy Stairs on their knees.

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