Jerusalem. Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Billion nine hundred million … So many people on our planet believe in Christ. The dream of the vast majority of Christians is the desire to visit the places where He was born, preached, crucified, resurrected, and ascended to His Kingdom of Heaven.
Pilgrimage was born already in the first centuries from the Nativity of Christ, but it acquired a stable, massive character only when the crusaders created a base for this. And the number of pilgrims exceeded the most daring assumptions. The question arose about the need to form those traditions that were not there before. So, by the XIII – XIV centuries, the route of the Sorrowful (Cross) way of Jesus was born, called Via Dolorosa.
At first it included only those places that were mentioned in the Gospels. Then, gaining speculation and legends, he finally became what he is today: a route marking 14 stops (stations) on the way of Jesus Christ from the place of the Court to the place of His Crucifixion on Calvary.
Every Friday at 3:00 p.m., thousands of Christians lay on themselves the symbolic Cross of Jesus and carry it from the Franciscan monastery, set in the place of the Flagellation of Jesus, to Calvary, on top of which He was crucified. We will go along with them and call these stations the names that they received in the process of forming the tradition …
First Station – Pretorium
Here was located one of the residences of the Roman prefect, where he conducted trial of the accused. She was in the territory of the fortress of Anthony, from which today nothing has been preserved. In a place located not far from the Lion’s Gate of the Old Town, it is located in the present Muslim women’s school, which is not admitted.
Second Station – Flagellations and the Cross
We will restore events … Crucifixion on the cross, according to Roman laws, was preceded by flagellation. Pilate ordered him to be scourged “easily.” Several executioners (lictor) struck from all sides. Their scourges (flagellum), which were belts with sharp, bone, or lead balls embedded in them, crashed into His body and vomited to the blood that poured dust onto the area. In the meantime, the carpenters finished making the cross, the soldiers came up with fun over the “king of Judea”: they threw a red cloak on Jesus, put a thorny thorn branch on his head “and spat on Him, and, taking a reed, beat Him on the head” (Matthew “27:30). And then they laid a cross on Him and the procession set off on His last path of Suffering on the way to the Atonement.
On this site in the XII century the crusaders erected a church. Almost completely destroyed by the middle of the XIX century, it was transferred to the Franciscans in 1838 by the Egyptian ruler Ibrahim Pasha. The 1927 earthquake damaged many buildings in Jerusalem, including this church. It was decided to restore it. It was entrusted to the outstanding Franciscan architect Antonio Barluzzi (see “walk” No. 24 about him). The architect decided to completely demolish the old building.
The newly rebuilt chapel is a one-nave basilica with a dome over the altar. As in all the churches of A. Barluzzi, this is a Byzantine-style golden mosaic. The entire inner hemisphere of the dome is occupied by a huge crown of thorns. A. Barluzzi makes us eyewitnesses of the death torture through which Jesus went. Without suffering, without suffering – there is no victory over Evil, and, therefore, there is no Salvation. This is indicated by shining through the thorns and needles of the crown, bright stars, symbols of the Victory, which the Savior gained through His Cross and Resurrection over Sin and Death. This mood is also saturated with stained-glass windows in choirs, the plots of which are: (from left to right) “Pilate washes his hands”, “Scolding Christ” and “Liberation of Barabbas” (the work of the stained glass artist Pickirini according to the sketches of the painter Cambelotti). Barluzzi intended to attach a high, square bell tower to the chapel building, but due to lack of money his plan was not realized.
Excavations of 1901-1903, carried out on the site of the present courtyard of the monastery, also exposed the remains of an almost square plan of a three-nave medieval chapel, in which four powerful columns supported a dome over an ancient Roman platform called Litostrotos (literally: “stone paving”). The tradition identified this place as the one on which Jesus was taken from the fortress to the courtyard. A new church was erected above the foundations of the chapel, which is called the church or chapel of Judgment.
Built by the Franciscan monk Wendelin Gerlich Mandelsky (in 1903 – 1904), she does not claim to possess the high artistic merits that her neighbor of the Church of the Flagellation has. But it also has its own functions: the keeper of material evidence of the Roman period (the remains of the plates of the outer courtyard of the Pretorium) and the mystical presence of the heroes of the events that unfolded here once.