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Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa ("Way of Grief" in Latin) is a road in the old city of Jerusalem, a path where Jesus was lead in agony, carrying the crucifixion cross. There are a total of 14 stations along this path, based on events that occurred on the way to the Golgotha hill, the site of crucifixion, which is located at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Eight stations are marked along the old city road, while 6 additional stations are places in the compound of the church.

The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage been followed since early Christianity, beginning as soon as it became safe to do so after Constantine legalized the religion (mid-4th century). Originally, Byzantine pilgrims followed a similar path to the one taken today, but did not stop along the way. Over the centuries, the route has changed several times.
By the 8th century, the route had changed: beginning at the Garden of Gethsemane, pilgrims headed south to Mount Zion then doubled back around the Temple Mount to the Holy Sepulchre. The Middle Ages saw two rival routes, based on a split in the Latin Church: those with churches to the west went westward and those with churches in the east went eastward.
From the 14th to 16th centuries, pilgrims followed the Franciscan route, which began at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and included eight stations. Around this time, the tradition of 14 Stations of the Cross was developing in Europe. To avoid disappointing European pilgrims, the difference was made up with the addition of six more stations.

Today, the main route of the Via Dolorosa is that of the early Byzantine pilgrims and the enumeration organized by the Franciscans in the 14th century, with 14 stations along the way. However, alternative routes are followed by those who have different opinions on the locations of various events. Anglicans believe Jesus would have been led north towards the Garden Tomb, while Dominican Catholics start from Herod's Palace near Jaffa Gate. For most pilgrims, however, the exact location of each event along the Via Dolorosa is of little importance; the pilgrimage has great meaning due to its proximity to the original events and the reflection upon them along the way.


Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death. The site was in the Roman times the place of the seat of Pontius Pilate, located in the Antonia fortress, and the place of the hall of judgment. John 18-28: "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment". Jesus is condemned to death by Pontius Pilate, as per John 19:16: "Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified".

The photo below shows a view of the first section of the Via Dolorosa road, looking towards Mount of Olives
Station 2: Jesus receives His Cross. John 19:17, 19: "And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha...And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross...".

Station 3: Jesus fell for the first time under the weight of his cross. 
Station 4: Jesus meets Mary His Mother. As per John 19, 26: "When Jesus
Station 5: Simon of Cyrene was forced by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry this cross (Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26). therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!".
Station 6: dedicated to the woman (St. Veronica) who wiped Jesus face. This is based on Luke 23, 27: "And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him". Her name, Veronica, may have been based on the Latin words "Vera"+"Icon", or "true image" - the face of Jesus on the woman's handkerchief.
Station 7: Jesus falls the second time under the weight of the cross.
Station 8: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem. The station is based on Luke 23, 27: "But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children".
Station 9: Jesus falls the third time under the weight of the cross. Picture below shows alley that leads to station.
Stations 10-14 are all inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Station 10: Jesus is stripped of His garments. Mark 15, 24: "And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take".
Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.
Stations 12: Jesus dies on the cross.
Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross. As per John 19: 40: "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury".
Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb 

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