Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mater et Caput

The Exterior of Saint John Lateran
The Sacrosant and Patiarchal Lateran Archbasilica is the Roman Potnifical Cathedral, and also a mother church, but above all it was the first building of public worship in Rome and the entire Christian world: A model for all that followed.

This was the first church we visted on our second day. It was a rainy Friday in lent. Across the street from the the Saint John the Lateran Archbasilica was the Scala Sancta, the Holy Staircase.

This is said to be the very staircaise on which Christ himself climbed on the day of his passion. These stairs are stained with Christ's blood. The marble stairs protected with a walnut encasement. There are brass collars around the openings where Christ's blood stained the marble. Obviously, there was was a glass window protecting those stains. On this Friday in lent, I went up those stairs on my knees. With this act I earned a plenary indulgence.

The staircais was brought from Jeruselum to Rome by Constantine's mother, Saint Helena. At the time they were also known as Scala Pilati.

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