PLACES OF FAITH: THE HOLY LADDER OF CAMPLI
Campli, despite the appearance of a quiet town in the Teramana countryside, was a village of great traditions and of this illustrious past today preserves, jealous, splendid testimonies, one of these is certainly the Holy Staircase, next to the Church of San Paolo, a Holy Staircase able to take away all the sins, give us plenary indulgence, let us rise as immaculate. But why is this small and discreet wonder of Catholic worship, a ladder such as there are very few, in imitation of what Jesus went up to be face to face with Pontius Pilate, a ladder in imitation of the Lateran's ladder in Rome, and which still today thousands of pilgrims go down to their knees to obtain absolute forgiveness, in the heart of Abruzzo?
It was 1771 and Giampalma Palma, a Campli attorney, was the promoter of a grandiose project: to create a sacred place in a small provincial town that had known the splendours of a rich and prolific period but that was now in a period of decay. The intent of the Palma was to revive the fate of the city and to do so he used all his influence as prior of the local Brotherhood and his social position. Between 1772 and 1776, Palma had the small Scala built, which he had already obtained in January 1771, in the third year of Clement XIV's certificate, thanks to the conduct of the rigour of life and the instruction of the lawyer, the bubble he granted "..... to be able to obtain all the Indulgences, the remission of sins and punishments, which they could obtain if they devoutly and personally ascend on their knees the Holy Stairs of our Alma Rome". The Indulgences were a very serious business, even from an economic point of view, in fact in those days, the place of worship was frequented by many faithful and still today in Campli there are numerous pilgrims. Palma took care of everything, shapes, materials and decoration. Like the model of reference, that lateranese, also Campli's staircase, is composed of 28 wooden steps, to be climbed praying kneeling. This rite gives the faithful the absolution of their sins and, in some days of the year, the Plenary Indulgence with the same value as that obtained on the Holy Staircase of Rome. Fascinating symbols of the Scale and decoration. One climbs among six paintings that tell the moments of Christ's Passion to retrace Jesus' steps towards the cross and relive its suffering symbolically. In Sancta Sanctorum is the Saviour's altar, the only one able to free the sinner from the burden of his miseries. After paying homage to the portraits of Pope Clement and Saint Helena, the new man, the believer purified in his soul, finally descends towards the light of the day, now standing, accompanied by the joyful scenes of the Resurrection and smiling angels overlooking the roof.
INFO: La Scala Santa is located in the municipality of Campli, in the province of Teramo: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, tel. 0861.56148,8-20 hours daily. Information and guides - Association VerdelagaTel. 333.1076790 www.verdelaga.org
PLENARY INDULGENCE: last Saturday, Sunday and Monday of September and October - Third Easter Sunday - Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost. Ten years ago with a bubble Pope John Paul II added to these periods also the one from Friday after the Ashes to Good Friday.