Catholic Easter Tour of the Relics of Jesus' Passion in Rome
What could be more appropriate at Easter in Rome than visiting the primary relics of the Passion and Death of Jesus brought to Rome from Jerusalem in the early 4th Century A.D.
When the Roman Empire embraced the faith it once persecuted, it exploded into a frenzy of observance for the history and truth of the Christian faith manifest in the literary, the artistic and the relics of the early Christian church. Many of these were then brought to the then capital of the world - Rome.
On this tour expect to have an intimate encounter with the Relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ - physical objects which were used in his torture and death, and which were brought to Rome from Jerusalem by St Helena - the mother of Emperor Constantine.
We begin our tour with a visit to one of the oldest Churches dedicated to Theotokos (Mother of God) in Rome - the Basilica of St Mary Major - containing, beneath its center altar, wood from the manger in which the baby Jesus once lay. The church adorned by every epoque of Italian art history even holds the body of the devout baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
We then walk over to the Basilica of Santa Prassede, built in the 8th century, which holds some of the finest examples of medieval Christian art and holds a fragment of the pillar upon which Christ was flogged.
Only a few yards away we then enter the church of San Alfonso Ligouri to see the beautiful 15th century Byzantine icon “Our Lady of Perpetual Help / Succour” also known as the Virgin of the Passion or Theotokos of the Passion.
After we visit the Church of the Holy Stairs / Steps (Santa Scala) brought from Jerusalem by St Helena (mother of Roman Emperor Constantine) and so named because they are the steps which led to the praetorium of the then Roman procurator - Pontius Pilot. Since Our Lord Jesus descended those very steps in condemnation, all pilgrims ascend them on their knees.
From there we visit the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran (San Giovanni Laterano) and finally enter a Church built by St Helena. The church built over spread earth brought with relics from Jerusalem was her personal chapel holding, to this day, relics of the Passion of Christ including those of the Holy Sepulcher, the Cave of Bethlehem, a Nail of The Crucifixion, a Thorn of The Crown and a small walnut board reading Jesus the Nazarene king of the Jews.
All pilgrims who join us on this once in a lifetime Catholic pilgrimage tour will be given time to reflect and pray as part of their religious tour experience.