Holy stairs

A holy vestige of the Passion of Christ

This ancient street once linked the wealthy districts of the upper city to the more popular ones of the lower city. Undoubtedly taken by Jesus several times, this stairway (discovered in 1897) is also particularly venerated in Saint-Peter in Gallicantu.

It is very probable that Christ climbed up these stairs during his Passion, when he was brought by the guards from Gethsemane to Caiapha’s palace.

To preserve the site, the Holy Stairs is now protected by a grid. Another stairway gives to the pilgrims a parallel access all the way long.

North of the Holy Stairs, the 1907 excavations uncovered a tomb decorated with mosaics.

The epitaph written on the edge bears the name of Stephanos (Etienne). “Red sandals were part of the imperial insignia. They may perhaps refer to a person of rank closely related to Empress Eudokia.” (Father Germer-Durand).

The luxury of such a tomb, which remains mysterious, calls for some explanation. The central part of the picture represents an urn with gadroons protected by two lions. Out of the urn escapes a dove; a vine coming out of the vase in two strong stalks rise up right and left, and in the branches a gazelle chased by a dog can be seen.” (Father Germer-Durand).

This may be an allegory of the soul escaping from the death.