by Brooke Obie
The Stations of the Cross are a Catholic devotion with 14 steps that recount the day that Jesus was crucified. Each station represents a moment from Jesus' journey to Calvary on Good Friday. In Jerusalem, many people honor the sacrifice of Jesus by walking the Stations of the Cross, down the Via Dolorosa, (or, "path of sorrow"), the street down which many scholars believe Jesus traveled as He carried His cross. As is often the case with sacred sites in the Holy Land, chapels and churches now mark several stations. Take a virtual trip down Jesus' path of sorrow with these photos from the Holy Land of the 14 Stations of the Cross.
The first Station of the Cross recalls the trial of Jesus, during which Pontius Pilate condemns Him to be crucified and Jesus takes up the cross. For pilgrims walking the Via Dolorosa, it's difficult to know the proper starting place because the exact site of Jesus' trial is in dispute. The place commemorated as Station I is near St. Stephen's Gate (where Stephen was stoned to death). Pictured here is the Church of the Flagellation.
At the second station, across from the Ecce Homo Arch, Jesus takes up His cross and begins his journey to Calvary. "Ecce homo" is Latin for "Behold the man," the phrase Pilate uttered when he presented Jesus to the crowd after Jesus was beaten, as recounted in John 19:5.
About 330 feet from the Ecce Homo Arch is the spot where Jesus is believed to have fallen the first time. The site is now home to a small chapel of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate.
The even-numbered stations along the Via Dolorosa are where Jesus interacts with women. It's no coincidence that women come to him immediately after He has fallen down. At Station IV, Jesus meets His mother Mary. Today, this station is situated very near to Station III, though they used to be farther apart.
About 80 feet farther along is where Jesus was so badly beaten and exhausted that He could no longer carry His own cross and a Libyan man, Simon of Cyrene, picked it up and carried it for Him.
Station VI marks the spot where Church tradition has it that Veronica was moved to give Jesus her veil to wipe His face. The imprint of His face is said to have been impressed on her veil.
Another 250 feet along is where Jesus falls for the second time. An upper and a lower chapel mark this station and what was once the western boundary of Jerusalem at that time, as crucifixions happened outside the city gates. Jesus is believed to have continued on His path outside the city through the Garden Gate.
Station VIII is where Jesus consoles the women and children of Jerusalem. Many in the crowd that day were said to be distraught at the sight of Jesus in so much pain. Even in His own suffering, He stopped to console them. View more Holy Land images of Jesus' ministry here.
At Station IX, Jesus falls a third time on the way to Calvary, the place where Jesus is crucified. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, pictured here, is a massive structure that was built on top of Calvary (or Golgotha, as its also called).
At Station X, Jesus is stripped of His garments by the crowd. This and the four remaining stations are unmarked, as they exist inside what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, pictured here.
At Station XI, Jesus is nailed to the cross at Calvary. Pictured here is the front entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where a cross is laid by the door, commemorating the crucifixion.
At Station XII, Jesus dies on the cross before the soldiers can break His knees, fulfilling the prophecy that none of His bones would be broken. Pictured here is the rotunda inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, above the borrowed tomb where Jesus would be buried.
At Station XIII, Jesus is taken down from the cross. Pictured here is the outside of the borrowed tomb of Joseph, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
At the final station, Jesus is laid in the borrowed tomb of His friend Joseph. Pictured here is the tomb of Jesus, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
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