Via Dolorosa

"Via Dolorosa" or "Via Crucis" designates a stretch of road between the Antonia fortress and Golgotha, along which Jesus Christ walked bowed under the weight of the Cross. The name dates from the sixteenth century, although the custom of retracing Jesus' steps to Golgotha began in the early centuries of Christianity.

The Stations X through XIV are located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Every Friday afternoon at 3.00 p.m., the Franciscans, who have been the Custodians of the Holy Places since the thirteenth century, lead a pious procession winding through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem folowing in the footsteps of the suffering Christ.


The Stations of the Way

Station 1- Jesus is sentenced to death

Station 2 - Jesus is given the Cross

Station 3 - Jesus falls for the first time

Station 4 - Jesus meets His Mother

Station 5 - Simon the Cyrenian helps carry the Cross

Station 6 - Veronica wipes Jesus' face

Station 7 - Jesus falls for the second time

Station 8 - Jesus talks to the women of Jerusalem

Station 9 - Jesus falls for the third time

Station 10 - Jesus is stripped of His garments

Station 11 - Jesus is nailed to the Cross

Station 12 - Jesus dies on the Cross

Station 13 - Jesus is taken down from the Cross

Station 14 - Jesus is laid in the Sepulchre

Station 15 - Jesus rises from the dead

The Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem

The Way of the Cross is not a work of erudition. It is essentially a devotional exercise, a means which men and women can use to make contact with God, to adore Him, to thank Him, to increase their love for Him. Devotion to the sufferings of Christ, is particularly recommended for all who wish to live "upon the model of that charity which Christ showed to us when he gave himself up on our behalf" (Eph 6,2).

Because the Passion was accomplished in a specific place, it is obviously important to know its geographical and physical layout. This includes the many changes the Holy Land has undergone since Gospel times, together with the buildings and churches that have risen over the actual spots, all of which could add to the confusion experienced by certain pilgrims.

The road followed by Jesus on the day of his death has not escaped the vicissitudes of history; so we will not yield to the temptation of making stones the supreme arbiter in this matter. After all, it is by following the Way of the Cross that pilgrims have understood what the carrying of the cross was really like, through streets resembling those where crowds of people, often impassible, sometimes curious, still gather in front of the shops. (While the closing of the Moslem shops may be a help to piety, it has taken from the Friday procession the teeming crowds which were customary before 1967).

Finally, what really matters is to follow Christ on the Way of the Cross of his Passion, as humble companions.