Via Dolorosa

Garden of Gethsemane Holy Sepulchre Church

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa - Jerusalem

Above is a street sign in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin for Via Dolorosa in Old Jerusalem. Via Dolorosa, which means, "Path of Pain," is said to be the route that Jesus took after His sentencing by Pontius Pilate to his crucifixion at Golgotha. Today, Via Dolorosa is covered by a pavement of rocks worn smooth by millennia of footsteps (below).

Via Dolorosa Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa is about 650 yards (600 meters) long and marked by 13 "Stations," each commemorating an event that supposedly occurred to Jesus, as follows (Stations 1 to 8 of Via Dolorosa are outside and Stations 9 to 13 are inside Holy Sepulchre Church):

Station 1 is said to be where Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to be crucified.
Station 2 is said to be where Jesus picked up His cross and started walking.
Station 3 is said to be where Jesus fell down under the weight of the cross.
Station 4 is said to be where Jesus met and chatted with Mary, His mother.
Station 5 is said to be where Simon of Cyrene took over carrying Jesus' cross.
Station 6 is said to be where Veronica wiped Jesus' face with a cloth.
Station 7 is said to be where Jesus fell down again under the weight of the cross.
Station 8 is said to be where Jesus spoke to the women of Jerusalem.
Station 9 is said to be where Jesus fell down again under the weight of the cross.
Station 10 is said to be where Jesus was stripped naked by the Roman soldiers.
Station 11 is said to be where Jesus was nailed to the cross.
Station 12 is said to be where Jesus died on the cross.
Station 13 is said to be where Jesus' body was anointed for burial.

Are these 13 "Stations" of Via Dolorosa authentic?

Some "Stations" of Via Dolorosa are inexplicable self-contradictions: Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus' cross, supposedly from "Station 5" to Golgotha, so why would Jesus fall down at Stations 7 and 9 from the weight of the cross that Simon was carrying?

Others "Stations" of Via Dolorosa are fabrications: there is nobody named "Veronica" in the Bible, according to which, Jesus neither met her (Station 6) nor Mary (Station 4) nor fell (Station 3) en route to Golgotha.

Once the victim to be crucified was nailed to the cross, it was simply uprighted, so Station 12 should not be different from Station 11 (see Why Was Jesus Crucified?).

Lastly, since Golgotha and Tomb of Jesus are north of Antonia Fortress, the entire route of Via Dolorosa, which stretches westward from Antonia Fortress, is unbiblical.

Then why is Via Dolorosa routed as it is?

The route of Via Dolorosa has been altered and manipulated over the centuries to lend credence to unbiblical Catholic relics (e.g., the cloth of "Saint" Veronica) and to elevate the prestige of the chapels and other structures owned by whichever Catholic order held sway in Jerusalem over the years. When two rival Catholic orders held equal power in Jerusalem during the Middle Ages, there were two competing Via Dolorosas.

There is nothing painful about today's version of this "Path of Pain," which dates from the 19th century AD and almost the entire length of which is lined with shops, including large tourist shops strategically located next to each "Station."

What does the Bible say?

Below is the entirety of what the four Gospels (see when were the Gospels written?) tell us about Jesus' walk from Pontius Pilate to Golgotha:

And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they had come to a place called Golgotha... (Matthew 27:31-33)

And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha... (Mark 15:20-22)

Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him... (Luke 23:26-33)

Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him... (John 19:16-18)

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