The stations of the Cross is a series of pictures or depictions related to the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Also known as Via Dolorosa, Via Crucis, Way of Sorrows, or Way of the Cross, the faithful commemorates the final hours of Christ by physically moving through a set of stations while reflecting the significance of each. It is one way of understanding the suffering and death of Christ.
Traditional Stations of the Cross
1st Station – Jesus is condemned to death.
2nd Station – Jesus carries His cross.
3rd Station – Jesus falls the first time.
4th station – Jesus meets His grieving mother.
5th Station – Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.
6th Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7th Station – Jesus falls the second time.
8th Station – Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem.
9th Station – Jesus falls the third time.
10th Station – Jesus is stripped of His clothes.
11th Station – Jesus is nailed to the cross.
12th Station – Jesus dies on the cross.
13th Station – Jesus is taken down from the cross.
14th Station – Jesus in laid in the tomb.
These stations are typically placed on the sidewalls of the church. It is traditionally observed during the Fridays of Lent specifically on Good Friday of Holy Week. The practice as a chapel devotion was began by St. Francis of Assisi. However, the more extensive practice was encouraged by pious pilgrims to Jerusalem.
Christ’s journey to Calvary is sought to be relived through this pilgrimage, albeit in minimal form when confined in a particular church or place. There were some variations in number of the stations during the early practice but fourteen came out as the designated number by church authorities. Many are in the belief that the ascension of Christ should have been designated as the fifteenth station to complete the story. Never the less, fourteen remains to be the official number as of this writing.