The Stations of the Cross hold significance for Catholics around the world because they provide a structured and symbolic way to meditate on the events of Jesus Christ’s Passion, from his condemnation to his burial.
There are 14 Stations of the Cross. There is the ‘traditional’ set popularised by St Leonardo da Porto Maurizio (d. 1751), who was also involved in establishing the set of stations in the Colosseum. In 1975, during a Holy Year, the Vatican’s Congregation of Rites produced a revised version of the Stations of the Cross. While the number of stations remains the same, those stations without scriptural foundation have been omitted, namely the falls of Jesus, Jesus meeting his mother Mary, and Veronica wiping the face of Jesus.
TRADITIONAL STATIONS1. Jesus is condemned to death2. Jesus takes up his Cross 3. Jesus falls the first time4. Jesus meets his mother5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus7. Jesus falls for the second time 8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem 9. Jesus falls for the third time 10. Jesus is stripped of his garments (sometimes called the ‘Division of Robes’)11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross 12. Jesus dies on the Cross13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross14. Jesus is laid in the tomb15. On Easter Sunday, Jesus rises from the dead
REVISED STATIONS (1975 – )1. The Last Supper2. The Garden of Gethsemane3. Jesus before the Sanhedrin4. Jesus before Pilate5. Jesus is whipped and crowned with thorns6. Jesus carries his cross7. Jesus is helped by the Cyrenean8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem9. Jesus is stripped and nailed to the Cross10. Jesus and the Good Thief11. Jesus speaks to Mary and John12. Jesus dies on the Cross13. Jesus is buried14. Jesus rises from the dead
Image: One of the Stations of the Cross sculptures that adorn Our Lady of Victory Shrine and Basilica in New York, US. See 'A traveller's guide to the Stations of the Cross' for more information on the sculptures.