Good Friday: Way of the Cross – Jerusalem

Background: Good Friday is the day Christ was tried and crucified, and is famously the day when thousands of pilgrims reenact the Passion of the Christ (Stations of the Cross – see below), on the Via Dolorosa, through the Old City by weeping and carrying huge crosses while the walk the path.

Impressions: I arrived about an hour before the Way of the Cross was supposed to start (led by the Franciscans) and went to put my things in a hostel, which is near the third station, and was met with this (1). The Israeli soldiers laughed and wished me luck getting to the first station. Luckily I knew a round about way, out the Damascus Gate and through the Lion’s Gate, to reach the first station. When I arrived at there it was empty. There were only a few tour groups, and not as much as the third station, which makes no sense. But I didn’t complain and camped out there until it started. Then hundreds and thousands of people started to arrive and when the procession started, it was packed (2, 3). It took about 30-40 minutes just to leave the first station, and I realized it was because two processions were moving simultaneously, the Catholic and the Arabic (6). Once we moved past the second station the crowd thinned. And it really thinned. There was no one, and I’m not sure if I was so far behind or so far ahead, but I was soon by myself, wandering the (now gated) Via Dolorosa. I sauntered from station, to station, stopped and taking pictures, very differently from how Christ walked it (I’m ashamed to say). The eighth and ninth stations (see below), were tricky to find because they weren’t actually on the Via Dolorosa, but with some help I got to them. When I reached the end (the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), I met the huge crowd (8), and slowly made my way along the crowd (which liked to crush people into other people) to the last three stations (inside the church).

Stations of the Cross:

I – Christ is condemned to death

The traditional location is now an Arab school

II – Christ is given his cross

The Chapel of the Flagellation (left) and the Chapel of Condemnation (right)

III – Christ falls the first time

IV – Christ meets his mother

V – Simon of Cyrene carries the cross

VI – Veronica wipes the face of Christ

VII – Christ falls a second time

VIII – Christ meets the daughters of Jerusalem

IX – Christ falls a third time

X – Christ is stripped of his garments

Stations 10, 11, 12 are located right next to each other, so different parts of the church designate each area

XI – Christ is nailed to the cross (crucifixion)

XII – Christ dies on the cross

XIII – Christ’s body is removed from the cross

XIV – Christ is buried in the tomb

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~ by jonathanmtsai on April 27, 2011.

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