The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross or Via Crucis, is a Christian devotional practice that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. The tradition involves meditating on 14 different events or “stations” from Jesus’s condemnation to his death and burial.
These stations are typically represented in the church with small plaques or artworks and worshippers move from station to station, reflecting on each event in turn, often using a series of prayers and meditations.
The traditional 14 Stations of the Cross are:
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus carries His cross
- Jesus falls the first time
- Jesus meets His mother, Mary
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls the third time
- Jesus is stripped of His garments
- Jesus is nailed to the cross (Crucifixion)
- Jesus dies on the cross
- Jesus is taken down from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
This practice is most commonly observed during the season of Lent, especially on Fridays and most notably on Good Friday.
It’s important to note that there are different versions of the Stations of the Cross. Some include a 15th station of the Resurrection. Others, like the Scriptural Way of the Cross introduced by Pope John Paul II, may use slightly different events based more closely on the Biblical accounts.