October 5, 2014
The Via Dolorosa
A pilgrimage, this one word can instill a sense of peace in many people from many faiths. One of the most well-known pilgrimages in the world is the pilgrimage of the Via Dolorosa that Christians make. Though this pilgrimage has much history in the Christian world, it seems that fewer people know the story and name of this beautiful walk through Jerusalem.
The Via Dolorosa, the last walk that our Savior made on his journey to the cross, is still in existence and is still one of the most meaningful things that a Christian can do in Jerusalem. It is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices that our savior made. Over the centuries, the route has changed to some degree, depending on whether one followed the Byzantine route, the Franciscan route, or other alternative routes. The Franciscan route begins at the Church of The Holy Sepulchre and continues through the 14 Stations of the Cross, though originally this route only contained 8 stations. Today, for the most part, Christian pilgrims follow the old Byzantine route, although some, who have differing opinions of where Jesus did certain things, will often follow alternative routes. For many, just walking the same path that Jesus Christ struggled on is enough to bring them a sense of clarity and crystallization to their sense of faith. The stations that Christians mark on their pilgrimage along the Via Dolorosa are:
Stations 1 and 2: Trial by Pilate – Christ is condemned to death and given the cross to bear.
Stations 3, 7 and 9: Represent the three falls taken by Christ during his final journey.
Station 4: The Encounter with Mary
Station 5: The Encounter with Simon of Cyrene
Station 6: The Encounter with Veronica
Station 8: The Encounter with pious women
Station 10: Christ is stripped of his clothing
Station 11: Christ is Crucified
Station 12: Christ dies
Station 13: Christ is taken from the cross
Station 14: Christ is placed in the tomb
Whichever route you take, the Via Dolorosa ends at the Church of The Holy Sepulchre. This church, which holds significance for Christian and Orthodox religions throughout the world, is one of the oldest in Jerusalem. There has been a building of worship on this site since the second century. The church of the Holy Sepulchre also reportedly holds the tomb of Jesus Christ himself.
Given the importance of the Via Dolorosa pilgrimage and the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, it is no wonder that many Christians who are facing a time of stress or trouble find their way to Jerusalem to renew themselves and their faith. Many Christians come to the Church of The Holy Sepulchre to offer their prayers and search for peace.
A trip to Jerusalem is not always possible, especially in a time of economic troubles. If you are unable to personally come to Jerusalem to offer up your prayers, we would be happy to help you send your prayers by bringing them to the church for you.