Via Dolorosa or the Way of Grief is the path by which Jesus Christ approached the Calvary, the place of his Crucifixion. The way was the sacred place since the first centuries of the Christianity. Via Dolorosa is starting at the Antonia fortress, where the Roman Praetoruim was located, residence of Roman procurators, and ending at the Calvary. Today all Christians can have a tour over the path where Jesus Christ walked carrying his cross, with stops at each of 14 stations, where the events described in the Bible took happened.
1 station. At the Antonia Fortress Jesus Christ was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate – «from Caiaphas Jesus was led to the Praetorium (Gospel of John, 18, 28). Today at the site Al-Omaria madrasah is located, with its minaret being called Antonia Tower. From the Antonia Fortress only the slabs of Roman pavement survived (from a Greek word «lithostratos»).
2 station. Almost opposite Al-Omaria madrasah the Franciscan Monastery of the God`s Mother of Zion is located with the Chapel of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross. At the Chapel of the Flagellation Roman soldiers whipped Jesus: "Then Pilate took Jesus and ordered to whip him” (Gospel of John, 19, 1). At the Chapel of the Condemnation Jesus was condemned to death: “Then, at last, he gave him to them for the imposition of the cross. And they took Jesus and led” (Gospel of John, 19, 16).
Both chapels are located on the site of Lithostratos, the place where Jesus was condemned to death. Lithostratos was paved with huge stone slabs, some of which remained until today. There Jesus was clothed in a scarlet robe and the crown of thorns was put on his head. At the Chapel of the Condemnation you can see circles for the game of dice cut in the stone slabs, possibly made by Roman soldiers.
Near the chapels you can see the arch of Esse Homo, which remained of the Roman forum of Aelia Capitolina built by Hadrian in 2 century A.D. It is believed that at this point Pontius Pilate gave Jesus to the High Priests for the execution, saying: «Here is the Man». It is just there that the Cross was imposed on the Christ, and he carried it to the Calvary.
3 station. The place of the first fall of Jesus Christ. At the intersection of Via Dolorosa and Al-Vad Jesus Christ stumbled for the first time. Polish Catholics built a small chapel on the site.
4 station. In the immediate vicinity of the third station the 4th station is located where Jesus met his mother, the Virgin Mary. Now the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate and the Armenian Church of the Assumption Day are located. And over the entrance of the church you can see a bas-relief depicting the meeting of Jesus with his mother performed by the Polish artist Zieliensky.
5 station. From this station Via Dolorosa begins to climb the hill where the Golgotha (Calvary) is located. At this point Jesus could no longer carry his cross, so it was given to a Simon Cyrenne: “And they made a Cyrenne, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, returning from the field to carry His cross.” A Franciscan chapel is located on the site.
6 station. Meeting with Veronica. At this station Jesus met with a godly woman who gave him to drink and wiped blood and sweat from his face. And it is said that the image of Christ imprinted on her veil. Since that time the Veil of Veronica became the Christian sacred thing. It is kept at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome.
7 station. The place of the second fall of Jesus Christ. There you can see a big Roman pillar near the wall of Franciscan chapel. At this place Via Dolorosa after a long climb turns towards the Golgotha (Calvary). The chapel is called the Gate of Condemnation, as at that place Jesus passed a gate at the exit of the Old Town.
8 station. Jesus and pious women. The path was still climbing and there Jesus addressed the wailing women who followed him: “The daughters of Jerusalem, you don’t wail not over me but yourself and your children” (Gospel of Luke, 23, 28). At the station you can see a small cross on the wall of a Greek Orthodox church.
9 station. The place of the third fall of Jesus Christ. The place is marked by a column of Roman period near the Coptic Monastery of St. Antonia. The monastery is at the aspida of the Holy Sepulcher. The following five stations of the Way of Grief are inside the Holy Sepulcher.
10 station. Disrobing of Jesus. The Chapel of the Disrobing of Jesus is on the elevation to the right of the entrance of the Holy Sepulcher.
11 station. Jesus is nailed to the cross on the Golgotha (Calvary). To the right of the entrance of the Holy Sepulcher you can see a stair leading to the upper gallery – this is the Golgotha. “And carrying His cross He came to the Place of a Skull, Golgotha in Hebrew” (Gospel of John, 19, 17). There you can see a Latin shrine under the mosaic arch where Jesus was nailed to the cross in the eyes of the Virgin Mary.
12 station. Crucifixion of Jesus. A Greek altar was erected on the place of Jesus crucifixion. To the left and to the right of the altar stones can be seen, which are the surface of the Golgotha. In the center of the altar there is a hole where the cross was raised, and to the right, on one of the stones you can see a big crack which appeared during the earthquake when Jesus Christ died on the cross.
13 station. Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid down on the Stone of the Unction. The stone is at the foot of the Golgotha just in front of the entrance of the Holy Sepulcher. On that stone Joseph of Arimathaea and the mother of Jesus washed and anointed the body of Jesus. Since that time that stone was always wet.
14 station. Jesus was put in the coffin. This place is inside the Cubiculum (chapel), which is under the main dome of the Holy Sepulcher. It consists of two rooms, which may be considered the main sanctities of the Christianity. There Jesus was buried and resurrected on the third day.