Sacred Stairs – Pilgrims Climb on Their Knees

Image

Christians believe that Jesus climbed steps on his way to the judgement hall in Pontius Pilate’s palace. These same steps were preserved and later restored.  As a gift to the Holy See in 326 A.D. from Constantine the Great (orchestrated by his mother, St. Helena), the steps were relocated from Jerusalem to their current site at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. This artifact is among the holiest relics of the Roman Catholic Church.

The set of 28 white marble steps is encased in a protective wood covering. Worshippers believe the stairway is holy because of Jesus’ footsteps on it.  Indeed, pilgrims are only allowed to ascend on their knees. This kneeling position allows them to gaze through holes in the wood which allegedly reveal spots of Christ’s blood on the marble beneath.

Several popes have undergone the ritual of ascending these sacred steps on their knees.

 

Adapted from Malcolm Moore’s article.  For article and photo:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1554541/Steps-Jesus-walked-to-trial-restored-to-glory.html

See also:  http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/holystairs.htm

Dancing Shoe Battery, Version One

Image

“Since many ballerinas consider their shoes as almost extensions of their feet — vital pieces of equipment to help create the illusion that human beings were meant to dance on tiptoe — an entire unusual shoe culture crops up at dance companies.”

Michael Cooper of the New York Times describes how dancers at City Ballet, achieve an almost noiseless performance in their toe shoes. Before donning them, they pummel them.  He describes:

  • a nightly ritual of mercilessly whacking pink satin shoes against a cinder-block wall,
  • the incessant shoe battery… BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! that echoes throughout the backstage area,
  • the bending of shoes back and forth, and
  • crushing them in doors.

These rituals create ‘old’ soft shoes, which are then worn in comfort and moved in noiselessly.  At two pairs per performance and 10 or 12 pairs a week, the bill and the shoe-bullying can be a bit wearing. 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/at-city-ballet-footwear-is-almost-as-important-as-feet/