The "Via Dolorosa"

The "Via Dolorosa" - the "Way of the Cross", or more correctly translated, the "Way of the Agony" is the route taken by Jesus bearing the cross. The present-day route is based on late traditions dating from the Crusader period onwards, consolidated by the Franciscans who, by virtue of a series of decrees emanating from the Vatican over a period of about 150-200 years, gradually took over the custody of traditional Christian sites in the Holy Land, effective until today and respected and recognized by the Government of Israel. The Franciscans laid out the route in its present form. Earlier traditions, dating back to Byzantine times, included the traditional site of Caiaphas' house on Mount Zion, today the site of St. Peters in Gallicantu.
There are fourteen "stations" on the "Way of the Cross" corresponding to the events mentioned in the gospels as Jesus struggled through the streets of Jerusalem, from the moment of his trial until his body was laid to rest in the Sepulchre: eight of the stations are situated at various places along the streets forming the Via Dolorosa while the last six are within the precincts of the church itself.
For a brief discussion of the various routes you can look here.


The stations are as follows:
1. The Site of the Condemnation;
2. The Site of the Flagellation;
3. Jesus stumbles for the first time;
4. Jesus comes face to face with his mother;
5. Jesus stumbles for the second time and Simon the Cyrenian is made to carry the cross;
6. St. Veronica refreshes Jesus' face with a cloth on which becomes imprinted a true likeness of his features (see painting below);
7. The exit from the city walls via a now, no-longer extant inner city wall and gate (the so-called "second" wall built by Herod the Great - the course of the Byzantine Cardo and still today's main north-south bazaar street);
8. Jesus is confronted by the weeping daughters of Jerusalem;
9. Jesus stumbles for the third and last time;
10. Jesus is laid on the cross;
11. The cross is lifted upright at the site of the crucifixion;
12. The body of Jesus is removed from the cross;
13. The body of Jesus is prepared for burial on the Stone of Unction;
14. The body of Jesus is laid to rest in the sepulchre.

Here is one of several interpretations of St. Veronica at the Sixth Station :-

The Cloth of Veronica
The 6th Station


.....and here is a series of entablatures depicting all the stations in order :-

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