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Austria: Forchtenstein, celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the “Scala Sancta”. Celebrations in Lent and guided tours

This year, the “Scala Sancta” celebrates its 300th birthday. Of course, this is not the Scala Sancta that is in front of St John Lateran in Rome, that St Helena, emperor Constantine’s mother, had built in the IV century. It is a replica built in the town of Forchtenstein, in Burgenland. The bishop of Eisenstadt, mgr. Agidius Zsifkovics, will officially open the Jubilee Year on Sunday, February 18th, at 9 am. A 6mt-high wooden cross will be erected in front of the parish church of Forchtenstein as a beacon and a call to all pilgrims, who are expected to come in large numbers to a place that over the last three centuries has become central to the region’s spirituality. On March 23rd 2018, the parish church will also celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the restoration of the holy place. During the Jubilee Year, the parish calls everyone to pray next to the Scala Sancta and go to Mass in the parish church of Forchtenstein. The programme includes guided tours of the monuments. Solemn Masses with Via Crucis will be held every Friday in Lent. In 1695, Prince Paul Esterházy, after founding a monastery, renovated the existing church and three parallel staircases, leading to a barrel vault, were built as an extension of the northern aisle. The stone central staircase is the Scala Sancta that is worshipped. A staging of the Stabat Mater welcomes the pilgrims at the top, at the end of the ritual climb up on their knees.

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