The Via Dolorosa - Part 1

As I walked down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, this song by Sandi Patty replayed in my mind over and over.... You can click here to hear it. 
Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that dayThe soldiers tried to clear the narrow street But the crowd pressed in to see The Man condemned to die on Calvary. 
He was bleeding from a beating; there were stripes upon his back And He wore a crown of thorns upon His headAnd He bore with every stepThe scorn of those who cried out for His death
Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of sufferingLike a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,But He chose to walk that road out ofHis love for you and me.Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.
Por la Via Dolorosa, triste dia en JerusalemLos saldados le abrian paso a JesusMas la gente se acercabaPara ver al que llevaba aquella cruz.
Por la Via Dolorosa, que es la via del dolor Como oveja vino Cristo, Rey, Senor Y fue El quien quiso ir por su amor por ti y por miPor la Via Dolorosa al Calvario y a morir.
The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men Made its way through the heart of Jerusalem.
Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of sufferingLike a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the KingBut He chose to walk that road out of His love for you and meDown the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.
The Via Dolorosa is the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross on the way to his crucifixion.  It is called the 'Way of Sorrows",  the "Way of Suffering",  the "Way of Grief" or simply the "Painful Way".   The names of many roads in Jerusalem are translated into English, Hebrew and Arabic on the street signs, but the name Via Dolorosa is used in all three languages.  
The path that Jesus walked twists around the Old City of Jerusalem beginning just inside the Lion's Gate and proceeds to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - a distance of about 2,000 feet (almost 1/2 mile).  It is marked by 14 stations of the cross, with the last five stations located inside the Church. 

First Station: The Place of the Condemnation
The court of law in Biblical times was located in the Fortress of Antonia, which safeguarded the Temple Mount area. This is where Jesus was brought before Pilate, the Roman Governor, and condemned to die.   Today, the Muslim school "Omariya" occupies the site.    Each station of the cross is marked with a medallion indicating the station in Roman numerals and they are easy to miss!   While the medallions are located at the exact "spot", many of the stations have an altar nearby in which to remember the event.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Second Station: The Burden of the Cross  - This station is located inside the Franciscan compound which contains both the sanctuaries of the Condemnation and the Flagellation. It is the place where Jesus received the cross.  

The Church of the Flagellation (or Scourging) was first built in the 12th century by the Crusaders, then given to the Franciscans in 1838 and restored various times.  Over the outside door is a design of entangled thorns signifying the crown that Jesus wore.  
The ceiling inside the church had the same motif. 
An interesting facet of the Church of the Flagellation are three stained glass 
windows depicting different scenes; the washing of Pilate's hands from the guilt 
of Jesus' condemnation (Matt 27:24); the scourging and crowning of Jesus with the 
crown of thorns (Matt 27:27-31); the victory cry of Barabbas on his release. (Matt 27:26) 
 This is the Church of the Condemnation, built in Byzantine style.  
This church represents where the cross was placed on the shoulders of a 'condemned' Jesus, who then carried it to the Hill of Calvary.  
The church inside was beautiful and yet poignant.  
The mural above the altar pictures Jesus beginning his walk with the heavy cross.  

Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time 
 The third station marks the spot where the tortured and exhausted Jesus
 fell down under the weight of the cross for the first time.  
The chapel was built by Polish soldiers who arrived in Jerusalem during the Second World War.  In the chapel's facade is a stone sculpture portraying the event.  Today, the Armenian Catholics manage the site.  
This mural is located in the entrance hall inside of the chapel. 
The chapel is actually located in the crypt of the church.  
It was beautiful but crowded with other tourists and their guide.  
I saw the 'no photographs' poster right after I snapped the picture!  :)  

Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother 
A relief carved in stone represents the place where
 Jesus greeted his mother during his final march toward death. 
What a heart-breaking scene!  Mary weeps with her son.  
The small chapel is located underneath the Armenian Church of our Lady of the Spasm.  Spasm here refers to an emotional state resulting from extreme grief.  
Mary was indeed in agony as she watched her son carry the cross to Golgotha.  

Fifth Station:  Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus 
"As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus." Luke 23:26 
The Franciscan chapel, dedicated to Simon of Cyrene, was built in the nineteenth century and is the Fifth station of the Cross.  The people of Cyrene were African people who lived in what is now Libya.   The chapel is said to be on the site of the Franciscans' first house in Jerusalem in 1229.   From here, the Via Dolorosa climbs upwards toward Calvary.  
This sculpture is cast of bronze and represents 
Simon the Cyrenian helping Jesus to carry the cross.  

Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus 
The sixth station of the cross is the place where Veronica was believed to have wiped Jesus’ face. There is no biblical reference to this encounter. This belief came about in the Middle Ages, when Roman Catholic legend viewed an imprint on the wall (or some people say it appeared on the cloth) as an imprint of Jesus' image as Veronica wiped his face. This imprint is known as the Veil of Veronica. This site was identified in the 19thcentury by the Roman Catholics. Purchasing the ruins in 1883, they built the Church of the Holy Face and Saint Veronica. The Roman Catholics believed that Veronica had this encounter with Christ outside her home, which is the exact location where they built the Church. Currently the building is managed by the Little Sisters of Jesus and not opened to the public.  
This narrow column in front of the doorway to the church has a Latin inscription: 
"Here Veronica wiped the face of Jesus."  
Normally the small chapel of the Holy Face is closed.  
However, we were fortunate to go down the stairs for a rare visit. 
At ground level inside the doors, there is a small shop and workshop where "The Little Sisters of Jesus" earn their living by assembling and selling icon copies of the Veil of Veronica. 

Stations 7-14 will continue in the next blog!  


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