Shrine of Holy Stairs Campli
In 1772, Pope Clement XIV acknowledged to the town of Campli the supreme ownership of the Holy Stairs.
The Holy Stairs is by St Pauls Church and made of 28 hard oak steps. According to the rules set by the Pope, those asking forgiveness for their sins must go up the stairs on knees, head bent (also covered if women) and praying. It is a tough penitence but for those who believe there is a reward: the remission of their sins and the Plenary Indulgence. This is as important as the one granted after praying at the best-known Holy Stairs of Rome.
Fascinating is the use of symbols to justify each part of the staircase and its decorations. The believer, who must go up the staircase strictly on his knees, repents by living again the stages of Jesus journey towards his Crucifixion. He is watched by figures represented in six paintings hanging on the right and on the left of the staircase, who equally tell the story of the most relevant moments of Christs Passion.
The last step takes to the Sanctum Sanctorum (the holy of holies) where behind a tight grille there is the altar of the Saviour. Only Jesus Christ Salvator Mundi can absolve the sinner from the guilt of his sins.
The New Man whose frail soul is now pure can walk down towards the daylight. Before descending the staircase, he pays respect to Pope Clement and Saint Elena, both faithfully represented in bright colours in two life-size portraits. Finally, he goes down among cheerful scenes of the Resurrection and smiling little angels peeping out from the ceiling.