Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa - Old Jerusalem

Above is an Old Jerusalem street sign in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin for Via Dolorosa, which means "Path of Pain," and supposedly is the route that Jesus took through Jerusalem to his crucifixion at Golgotha after His sentencing by Pontius Pilate. 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 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 spoke 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 (Stations 3, 7 and 9) 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 the 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 faction held sway in Jerusalem over the years. When two rival Catholic factions held equal power in Jerusalem during the Middle Ages, there actually were two competing Via Dolorosas.

And there is nothing painful about the current version of this "Path of Pain," which dates from only 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" that is outside the Holy Sepulchre Church.

What does the Bible say?

These four links contain the entirety of what the Bible (see when were the gospels written?) says about Jesus' walk from Pontius Pilate to Golgotha: Matthew 27:31-33, Mark 15:20-22, Luke 23:26-33, and John 19:16-18.