1. Via Crucis Pilgrim Tour Rome
Our flagship Via Crucis Pilgrim Tour of Rome focuses on some of the most important artefacts in Christendom, including parts of the One True Cross upon which He was crucified; Holy Nails from the Cross; Thorns from the Crown of Thorns, the Title of the Cross placed above His head and the pillar upon which He was flogged. To take the Via Crucis—the Way of the Cross—is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and on this essential walking tour of Rome for pilgrims you’ll see first-hand some of the relics from the final days and hours of His life, leading up to His condemnation and eventual execution at the hands of the occupying Roman forces in Jerusalem. Our tour begins at the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major, one of Rome’s four Major Basilicas and sites of the Holy Doors that will open in 2025. Here we’ll be able to see and venerate original wood from the Crib of the Nativity and, in the very same breathtaking basilica, stand just a few feet away from the original icon by St Luke the Evangelist, Salus Popoli Romani. Moving on, we’ll visit some of Rome’s truly hidden treasures and settings of the defining events in the history of the Christian Church, founded by St Peter in the heart of a vicious and hostile pagan world. You’ll have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the struggles of those early persecuted followers and their irrepressible faith. We’ll see stunning mosaics filled with symbolism, countless papal tombs, and the most famous icon in the world, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour or Our Lady of the Passion). The very steps that Jesus ascended to the praetorium of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, whereupon He was condemned to death, are also here in Rome and are a central part of the Via Crucis Pilgrim Tour. Since Our Lord climbed those steps in condemnation, it is common tradition today to climb the same steps on one’s knees, though doing so takes around 45 minutes and therefore is not part of our itinerary. Anyone wishing to partake in this particular tradition should arrange to do so separately. The Church of the Holy Stairs is also the location of the Holy of Holies inner sanctum, accessed traditionally by nobody but the Pope, and the home of yet another icon, said to have been begun by St Luke and completed by angels. Our penultimate stop will be the oldest and most important of Rome’s four Major Basilicas, that of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome and Mother Church of the World. Here are kept the skulls of Saints Peter and Paul, the Pillars of the Church, as well as the Holy Sponge which doused Him while He hung from the Cross. Our Via Crucis Pilgrim Tour finally concludes at the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where our devout and learned guide will leave you with a homily. On the edge of the ancient Aurelian Wall that encompasses Rome’s historical city centre, Santa Croce is roughly a 10-minute walk from the nearest metro station.