Stations of Via Dolorosa

There are fourteen stations on the traditional Via Dolorosa (محطات طريق الآلام). It is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The current traditional route is based on a circular devotional walk, organized by Franciscans in the 14th century.

Overview

Via Dolorosa inscription under the Arch of Ecce Homo (originally built by Hadrian in 135 CE). The processional was is called by several names, most commonly known names are the "Way of Grief," "Way of Sorrow," "Way of Suffering" or simply "Painful Way". The following enlists the stations of the current Via Dolorosa, in sequence.

First Station

circa 30 CE

al-Omariya School (Fortress Antonia)
Today al-Omariya Elementary School is located at the site of the First Station, where the Fort Antonia, the seat of Pontius Pilate, once stood and where according to Christian tradition Jesus was condemned to death by Pilate. On the site are three early 19th-century Roman Catholic churches, taking their names from these events; the Church of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross, Church of the Flagellation, and Church of Ecce Homo.

circa 30 CE

Ecce Homo Arch
The central opening of the arch of Ecce Homo (Latin for "behold the man"), seen here, is part of an Early Roman arch which had triple openings. According to tradition, this is the site Pilate presented Jesus to the enraged jewish crowds. However, scholars are now fairly certain that Pilate carried out his judgements at Herod's Palace at the southwest side of the city, rather than at this point in the city's northeast corner.

Second Station

circa 30 CE

Second Station marker at Franciscan Monastery and the Church of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross. According to tradition it where the Cross was imposed on Jesus, and he was condemned by the crowd. There is a large area of Roman paving, beneath these structures, was traditionally regarded as the Roman pavement (Greek: lithostratos) described by the Bible as the location of Pilate's judgment of Jesus.

Third Station

circa 30 CE

Third Station marker where Jesus falls for the first time under the weight of the cross that he is carrying. It is located around the Polish Catholic Church (built by the Armenian Catholics from Poland) on the corner of via Dolorosa and El Wad (Hagai) street. The tradition of the three falls appears to be a faded memory of an earlier belief in The Seven Falls; these were not necessarily literal falls, but rather depictions of Jesus coincidentally being prostrate, or nearly so.

Fourth Station

circa 30 CE

Fourth Station is located on el-Wad street where Jesus met his mother Mary according to the tradition. An Armenian church ("Armenian Church of Our Lady of the Spasm") is now located at this site. The oratory, named Our Lady of the Spasm, was built in 1881, but its crypt preserves some archaeological remains from former Byzantine buildings on the site, including a mosaic floor.

Fifth Station

circa 30 CE

The Fifth Station is located at the corner of Via Dolorosa road and El-Wad, a small Franciscan church is located at this station, dedicated to Simon the Cyrenian, who assisted Jesus with the cross. An inscription, in the architrave of one of the Chapel doors, references the Synoptic events. The current traditional site for the station is located at the east end of the western fraction of the Via Dolorosa, adjacent to the Chapel of Simon of Cyrene, a Franciscan construction built in 1895.

Sixth Station

circa 30 CE

A small Greek Catholic chapel Church of the Holy Face is located at the Sixth Station, where according to tradition Veronica wiped the face of Jesus. Greek Roman Catholics, who built the chapel here claim that Veronica had encountered Jesus outside her own house, and that the house had formerly been positioned at this spot.

Seventh Station

circa 30 CE

Seventh Station, where Jesus fell for the second time, today a small Franciscan Chapel is located here. Inside we can also distinguish a Roman tetrapyle (or imposing column) dating from the cardo maximus of the ancient Roman city of Jerusalem. In Hadrian's era, this was the junction of the main cardo (north-south road), with the decumanus (east-west road) which became the Via Dolorosa.

Eighth Station

circa 30 CE

Chapel of St. Charalampos is located at the spot where according to the tradition Jesus fell for the second time and marks the Eighth Station on Via Dolorosa. The circular disk marking the station can be seen above the white board on the left wall. It is located closest to the Holy Sepulchre. The Eighth station commemorates an episode described by the Gospel of Luke, alone among the canonical gospels, in which Jesus encounters pious women on his journey, and is able to stop and give a sermon.

Ninth Station

circa 30 CE

Ninth Station is the spot where Jesus fell for the third time. Today a small Coptic Church of St. Helen is situated at the location, close to the Golgotha and adjacent to the Holy Sepulchre, the door on the left leads to the courtyard of Holy Sepulchre.

Tenth Station

circa 30 CE

Chapel of the Franks is believed to be the Tenth Station along the Via Dolorosa. This is where according to Christian tradition the clothes of Jesus were stripped by Roman soldiers. There is no station marker at this location. Also called the Chapel of the Torment, Chapel of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Our Lady Sorrows, it is the tenth station on Via Dolorosa. In the Middle Ages, a need was felt for an entrance directly to Calvary from the forecourt, so an entrance was opened through this spot.

Fourteenth Station

circa 30 CE

The fourteenth station is the tomb inside the Holy Sepulchre Church. Today it is located in the center of the Rotunda inside a chapel called the Aedicule, which contains the Holy Sepulchre itself. The Edicule of the Tomb, has the layout of a tomb from the time of Jesus, formed by a passageway. It was rebuilt in 1808 CE after a fire. Covered by a flat roof with a small Russian-style dome at its center whose “onion” is supported by narrow columns. It is the Holiest site in Christendom.

See Also

References

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