The Via Dolorosa follows the path Jesus walked, carrying the cross, from the place of his trial to the place of the crucifixion. The present day “Fourteen Stations of the Cross” were set sometime after the Crusader period (13th century) and are all to be found within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

While some of the stations relate to events recorded in the New Testament others are based on later traditions. We know from Christian pilgrims records and diaries that since the 4th century pilgrims have followed a similar, but not identical, walk.

In the time of Jesus the place of the crucifixion was outside the walls of the city whereas today the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is within the Old City walls which were built only in the sixteenth century. Ignoring the hustle and bustle of the market stores, many Christian pilgrims follow the Way of the Cross, stopping for prayers at each of the stations. Some pass a heavy wooden cross from one to another. Often Catholic pilgrims end their walk by celebrating Mass in the Church.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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