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The Holy Door or Porta Sancta is only open during a Holy Year (jubilee), which occurs every 25 years. The doors are normally sealed from the inside and when they are opened, pilgrims may enter to gain special blessings. Each of the basilicas in Rome has a holy door. The one in St Peter's is opened on the Christmas Eve preceeding the holy year by the pontiff, and is closed by him n the Christmas Eve following using a special ornamental trowel. Until the Great Jubilee of 2000, the Pope knocked upon the door three times with a silver hammer, singing the versicle "Open unto me the gates of justice". The masonry, which had been loosened beforehand, was made to fall in at the third blow. After the threshold was swept and washed by the Jubilee penitentiaries, the Pope entered first. Pope John Paul II simplified the ceremony for the Great Jubilee of 2000 for safety reasons; previously, debris had fallen on Pope Paul VI while striking down the door. Workers had removed the concrete before the ceremony of the opening of the door so that the Pope only had to push on the doors with his hands. Above the holy door in St. Peter's are marble memorial plates commemorating the last two times that the door has been opened. Since John Paul II held the last two Jubilees, both plates indicate that he opened and closed the door.
FEATURED PHOTO, Female Artists - Creative Women group 11/16/12
FEATURED PHOTO, USA Artist News - LIMIT 2 Daily group 11/16/12
November 16th, 2012
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