The Anglican Church of Atonement celebrates the Stations of the Cross every Friday evening through Lent, beginning Friday, March 8th. The service begins at 6:00 pm with a phenomenal soup supper following the service. We will feed your soul and then your body. Join us – all are welcome.
Stations of the Cross “Via Dolorosa” (Sorrowful Way)
One of the very important devotions in our parish every Lent is the Stations of the Cross. We very blessed to have our beautiful stations that were designed and made by Gordon Hanson and donated by him and his wife Mary.
Since Lent is a penitential season of preparation for Easter, the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate’s praetorium to Christ’s tomb have been a popular devotion in parishes. In the 16th century, this pathway was officially entitled the “Via Dolorosa” (Sorrowful Way) or simply Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross.
This devotion has evolved over time. Tradition holds that our Blessed Mother visited daily the scenes of our Lord’s passion. After Constantine legalized Christianity in the year 312, this pathway was marked with its important stations. St. Jerome (342-420), living in Bethlehem during the later part of his life, attested to the crowds of pilgrims from various countries who visited those Holy places and followed the Way of the Cross.
Actually, the devotion continued to grow in popularity. In the fifth century, an interest developed in the Church to “reproduce” the holy places in other areas so pilgrims who could not actually travel to the Holy Land could do so in a devotional, spiritual way in their hearts. For instance, St. Petronius, Bishop of Bologna, constructed a group of chapels at the monastery of San Stefano, which depicted the more important shrines of the Holy Land, including several of the stations. (The same notion inspired the building of the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, where one can visit and see reproductions of the Bethlehem Chapel, the tomb of our Lord, and other important shrines of the Holy Land.)
In 1342, the Franciscans were appointed as guardians of the shrines of the Holy Land. The faithful received indulgences for praying at the following stations: At Pilate’s house, where Christ met His mother, where He spoke to the women, where He met Simon of Cyrene, where the soldiers stripped Him of His garments, where He was nailed to the cross, and at His tomb.
William Wey, an English pilgrim, visited the Holy Land in 1462, and is credited with the term “stations.” He described the manner in which a pilgrim followed the steps of Christ. Prior to this time, the path usually followed the reverse course of ours today—moving from Mount Calvary to Pilate’s house. At this time, the reverse—going from Pilate’s house to Calvary—seems to have taken hold.
At the end of the 17th century, the erection of stations in churches became more popular. In 1686, Pope Innocent XI, realizing that few people could travel to the Holy Land due to the Moslem oppression, granted the right to erect stations in all of their churches
To date, there are 14 traditional stations: Pilate condemns Christ to death; Jesus carries the cross; the first fall; Jesus meets His Blessed Mother; Simon of Cyrene helps to carry the cross; Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; the second fall; Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem; the third fall; Jesus is stripped of His garments; Jesus is nailed to the cross; Jesus dies on the cross; Jesus is taken down from the cross; and Jesus is laid in the tomb.