Stations of the Cross

  • How Did Stations of the Cross Originate?

    Stations of the Cross - sometimes called Way of the Cross - is a popular Lenten devotion that has very ancient roots.

    It was prayed by early Christian communities, especially in the fourth century, when the Roman Empire began to recognize Christianity. People often made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to retrace Jesus' steps on his last day.

    Those who could not visit Jerusalem used community churches and other buildings as "stations" that represented each stage of what happened to Jesus between his trial and his entombment. The devotion gained even more popularity because it was prayed in the vernacular rather than in Latin, and people understood what was going on.

    The Way of the Cross traditionally consists of 14 iconic stations - plaques or other pictorial depictions  - that tell the events of Jesus' journey to crucifixion. They are usually hung separately, seven on each side of the church.