Good Friday (1)

For Christians, Good Friday is the day commemorating Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. One of the traditions practiced on this day is the observance of the Stations of the Cross. After two hundred and fifty years of persecution, Christians were finally permitted to worship within the Roman Empire, and in 335 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site where it was believed Jesus’ tomb had been located. Soon afterwards, bands of pilgrims began making processions there, and Holy Week was a favourite time for this.
The Holy Week Procession eventually came to follow a set route through Jerusalem’s Old City. Known as the Via Dolorosa (‘the Sorrowful Way’), it begins at the place of Jesus’s condemnation (the Fortress Antonia), moves along the path it is believed Jesus took to Calvary, carrying His cross, and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Stations of the Cross (first referred to in this way by a fifteenth-century English pilgrim, William Wey) are the points at which significant events occurred. Although there were originally perhaps as many as thirty-seven, the number observed now is fourteen, with special prayers recited at each.
1st Station: Condemnation of Jesus.
2nd Station: Jesus carries His cross.
3rd Station: Jesus falls for the first time.
4th Station: Jesus meets His mother, Mary.
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene comes to help Jesus carry His cross.
6th Station: Veronica wipes Jesus’s face.
7th Station: Jesus falls for the second time.
8th Station: Jesus meets the Daughters of Jerusalem.
9th Station: Jesus falls for the third time.
10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his clothing.
11th Station: Jesus reaches Calvary and is nailed to the cross.
12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross.
13th Station: Jesus’s body is taken down from the cross
14th Station: Jesus’s body is laid in the tomb
Many Christians also eat Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. As a child, I remember a friend’s mother giving us each a hot cross bun when we set off for the rec (North American translation: recreational grounds, or park) and saying we shouldn’t eat them until two o’clock, the hour at which Christ was said to have died.


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