Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or simply, The Way) refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St. Francis of Assisi and extended throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period. It is less often observed in the Anglican and Lutheran churches. It may be done at any time, but is most commonly done during the Season of Lent, especially on Good Friday and on Friday evenings during Lent.

piritual significance

The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death. It has become one of the most popular devotions for Roman Catholics, as well as featuring in the worship and devotion of other Christian denominations.

Catholic reparations

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the meditation is often performed in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during His Passion. [Ann Ball, 2003 "Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices "ISBN 087973910X]

In his encyclical letter, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as "some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury" with respect to the sufferings of Jesus. [ [ "Miserentissimus Redemptor"] , Encyclical of Pope Pius XI]

Pope John Paul II referred to Acts of Reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified". [Pope John Paul II, [ Letter to Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, for the 50th anniversary of the Benedictine Sisters of Reparation of the Holy Face] , 27 September 2000 (Vatican archives)]

The stations

Traditional form

The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14* pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:
#Jesus is condemned to death
#Jesus receives the cross
#Jesus falls the first time
#Jesus meets His Mother
#Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
#Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil
#Jesus falls the second time
#Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
#Jesus falls the third time
#Jesus is stripped of His garments
#Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
#Jesus dies on the cross
#Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
#Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

Alternate forms

Including the resurrection

An alternate set of stations is now being used by some churches.Fact|date=August 2008 Although not part of the traditional set of Stations, the Resurrection of Jesus is now more and more integrated as part of The Way. Usually at the end of these stations there is a place where one can light candles and place them upon an altar.

Note that this form departs from the traditional form by including the resurrection (see later section on the place of the resurrection in the Stations).

#Jesus institutes the Eucharist
#Jesus prays in Gethsemane
#Jesus before the Sanhedrin
#Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
#Jesus carries the cross to Calvary
#Jesus falls under the weight of the cross
#Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene
#Jesus meets the pious women of Jerusalem
#Jesus is nailed on the cross
#Jesus promises Heaven to the repentant thief
#Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other
#Jesus suffers and dies on the cross
#Jesus is taken down from the cross, and is laid in the tomb
#Jesus rises from the dead

criptural Way of the Cross

Out of the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross, only eight have clear scriptural foundation. Stations 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 are not specifically attested to in the gospels and Station 13 (representing Jesus's body being taken down off the cross and laid in the arms of his mother Mary) seems to embelish the gospels' record which state that Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down from the cross and buried him. In order to provide a version of this devotion more closely aligned with the biblical accounts, Pope John Paul II introduced a new form of devotion, called the Scriptural Way of the Cross on Good Friday 1991. He celebrated that form thereafter at the Colosseum in Rome. [Joseph M Champlin, "The Stations of the Cross With Pope John Paul II" Liguori Publications, 1994, ISBN 0892436794] [Pope John Paul II, [ Meditation and Prayers for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum] , Good Friday, 2000] In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI approved this set of stations for meditation and public celebration: They follow this sequence:

# Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
# Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested,
# Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin,
# Jesus is denied by Peter,
# Jesus is judged by Pilate,
# Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns,
# Jesus takes up his cross,
# Jesus is helped by Simon to carry his cross,
# Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem,
# Jesus is crucified,
# Jesus promises his kingdom to the good thief,
# Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other,
# Jesus dies on the cross,
# Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Modern Usage

In the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II led an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum on Good Friday. Originally, the Pope himself carried the cross from station to station, but in his last years when age and infirmity limited his strength, John Paul presided over the celebration from a stage on the Palatine Hill, while others carried the cross. Just days prior to his death in 2005, Pope John Paul II observed the Stations of the Cross from his private chapel in the Vatican. Each year a different person is invited to write the meditation texts for the Stations. Past composers of the Papal Stations include several non-Catholics. The Holy Father himself wrote the texts for the Jubilee year 2000 and used the traditional Stations.

The celebration of the Stations of the Cross is especially common on the Fridays of Lent, especially Good Friday. Community celebrations are usually accompanied by various songs and prayers. Particularly common as musical accompaniment is the sequence Stabat Mater Dolorosa. At the end of each station, the Adoramus Te is sometimes sung. The Alleluia is also sung; however, that holy word is buried during Lent.

Structurally, Mel Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of Christ", follows the Stations of the Cross. The fourteenth and last station, the Burial, is not prominently depicted (compared to the other thirteen) but it is implied since the last shot before credit titles is Jesus resurrected and about to leave the tomb.

While many station meditations focus on the cause of Jesus' suffering, which is human sin, there are some meditations that focus on the effects of Jesus' suffering, such as healing and forgiveness. In the 2006 version of Michael Tigue's "Charismatic Stations of the Cross" [ [ "Charismatic Stations of the Cross"] , by Michael Tigue] , one finds a very positive outlook on the graces flowing from each station of the cross.

Will Scally, Produced and Directed `Stations of The Cross` for Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ),and several other language dubs, including `Welsh` for S4C.

Debates regarding the Stations of the Cross

The place of the resurrection in the Stations

Some Christians Fact|date=May 2007 maintain that the traditional Stations of the Cross are incomplete without a final scene depicting the empty tomb and/or Jesus rising from the dead (the Resurrection). This view comes about because of the traditional Christian view that Jesus' rising from the dead was an integral part of his salvific work on earth. This same consideration contributes to the idea that the three days commencing with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, and concluding with Vespers on the evening of Easter Sunday are to be regarded as a liturgical unity -- the most sacred time on the Christian calendar -- known as the Holy Triduum (also known as the Easter or Paschal Triduum).

Advocates of the traditional form of the Stations ending with the body of Jesus being placed in the tomb point out that the Stations are intended as a meditation on the atoning death of Jesus, and not as a complete picture of his life, death, and resurrection.

The Stations of the Resurrection (also known by the Latin name of "Via Lucis") are used in some churches at Eastertide to meditate on the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.

De-Latinization and the Stations of the Cross in the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church

In recent years, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has embarked on a campaign of de-Latinization reforms consisting of the removal of the stations of the cross, the rosary and the monstrance from the liturgy and parishes of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. In response a schismatic group, the Society of Saint Josaphat (SSJK), has formed with a seminary in Lviv, at which currently thirty students reside. The SSJK is affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X. Critics claim that the SSJK's liturgical practice favors severely abbreviated services and favors imported Roman devotions over the traditional and authentic practices and devotions of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Proponents counter that these symbols and rituals, borrowed from their Roman Catholic Polish neighbors have been practised by Ukrainian Greek Catholics for centuries now, and to deny them is to deprive themselves of a part of their sacred heritage which is a valuable reminder of Jesus' suffering.


Other pictures related to the stations of the cross


ee also

*Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ
*Passion play
*Poor Man's Bible
*Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
*Prayer Labyrinth

External links

* [,of,the,cross.php Stations of the Cross "by Bolesław Parasion"]
* [ The Way of the Cross and Resurrection. What does it mean for me on my journey?]
* [ Stations of the Cross Audio Download]
* [ "Way of the Cross"] article from "The Catholic Encyclopedia"
* [ A list of recent Via Crucis used by The Vatican on Good Fridays.] .
* ["Tributes for Kings: a modern Stations of the Cross including The Resurrection]
* [ Online Stations of the Cross with audio recorded meditations and prayers (mp3)]
* [ Online Stations of the Cross]
* [ Esquivel's (Nobel Peace Prize) Stations from Latin America]
* [ Dom Martin's "Stations of the Cross" (1972) in the Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa, India]
* [ Alternate Stations of the Cross as celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991]
* [ Stations of the Cross] from the perspective of the Blessed Virgin Mary
* [ Carving of Stations of the Cross]
* [ Web site for European Sacred Mountains, Calvaries and Devotional Complexes]
*cite web |url=
title= Scenes of The Passion Prints by Albrecht Dürer and Adrian Wiszniewski
publisher= Victoria and Albert Museum |accessdate= 2007-06-04

* [ Simple Meditations]
* [ Stations of the Cross]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stations of the Cross — n. 1. a series of fourteen crosses, as along the walls of a church, typically placed above representations of the stages of Jesus final sufferings and of his death and burial, visited in succession as a devotional exercise 2. the devotional… …   English World dictionary

  • Stations of the Cross — • Historical background on this devotion Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Stations of the Cross — noun (Roman Catholic Church) a devotion consisting of fourteen prayers said before a series of fourteen pictures or carvings representing successive incidents during Jesus passage from Pilate s house to his crucifixion at Calvary • Syn: ↑Stations …   Useful english dictionary

  • Stations Of The Cross — Infobox Album | Name = Stations Of The Cross Type = Live Album Artist = Johnny Thunders Released = 1987 Recorded = 1982 Genre = Rock and roll Length = 65:19 Label = RIOR Stations Of The Cross is a Johnny Thunders album recorded at The Mudd Club… …   Wikipedia

  • stations of the cross — Eccles. a series of 14 representations of successive incidents from the Passion of Christ, each with a wooden cross, or a series of wooden crosses alone, set up in a church, or sometimes outdoors, and visited in sequence, for prayer and… …   Universalium

  • stations of the cross — Usage: often capitalized S&C Date: circa 1890 1. a series of usually 14 images or pictures especially in a church that represent the stages of Christ s passion and death 2. a devotion involving commemorative meditation before the stations of the… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • stations of the cross — sta′tions of the cross′ or Sta′tions of the Cross′ n. pl. rel a series of 14 representations of successive incidents from the Passion of Christ, set up in a church or outdoors and visited in sequence for prayer or meditation • Etymology: 1885–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • Stations of the Cross — noun a) Collectively, the series of icons or statues, (normally 14) in a church which depict the last days of Jesus and his crucifixion. b) A religious ceremony based on prayer at each of these icons. Syn: Way of the Cross, Way of Sorrows …   Wiktionary

  • stations of the cross —    See way of the cross …   Glossary of theological terms

  • stations of the cross — plural noun Ecclesiastical a series of fourteen representations of successive incidents from the Passion of Christ, each with a wooden cross, or a series of wooden crosses alone, set up in a church and visited in order, for prayer and meditation …  

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