The Mount of Olives, or Mount Olivet, the starting point of our journey through the Holy City of Jerusalem, Via Dolorosa and walking the Stations of the Cross. We were up quite early that day since the best time to start your pilgrim is definitely the morning. By the afternoon, the streets in the old city are jam-packed and it’s quite hard to navigate, especially if it’s your first time here and don’t know your way around.
This was our tour guide, Asher Dank. He was great! He knew a lot about Jerusalem and Israel in general, and you could tell he’s very passionate about history and all. If you’re looking for a guide, you can PM and I can give you his details.
You’ll spend almost half the day walking so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and also remember to wear decent and modest clothing since you’ll be entering a lot of Churches and holy sites along the way.
We made our way down the Mount of Olives, passing by the Jewish cemetery and at the foot of the mountain was one of the first Churches we stopped at, which is the Church of All Nations. Most known for it’s bedrock where Jesus is believed to have prayed the night before he was crucified.
The Church is also known as the Basilica of the Agony while the Bedrock is also known as the Rock of Agony.
Station I: Jesus is Condemned to Die
The first station is located on the north-west corner of the temple mount. As you can see from the photo below it’s present day location is at the Al-Omariya school.
Station II: Jesus carries His Cross
The 2nd station is located at the Chapel of Condemnation, which I didn’t get a photo of. However beside the Chapel is the Church of Flagellation (photo above) where Jesus was whipped by Roman soldiers.
Station III: Jesus falls for the first time
Station IV: Jesus meets his mother, Mary
Station V: Simon helps carry the Cross
On the right side of the fifth station, you’ll see a square stone with Jesus’ imprint.
Station VI: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
According to tradition it was in this station that St. Veronica wiped Jesus’ face with her handkerchief, leaving an image of his face imprinted on the cloth. The relic, known as the Sudarium or Veronica, is kept at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Which now thinking about, I don’t remember seeing while I was there. Will have to remember to check it out if ever I get to visit St. Peter’s Basilica again.
Station VII: Jesus falls for the second time
Station VII: Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem
Station VI: Jesus falls for the third time
The remaining stations are all located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most holiest places in Jerusalem.
Station X: Jesus is stripped of his clothes
Station XI: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Station XII: Jesus dies on the cross
Station XIII: Jesus is taken down from the cross
Station XIV: Jesus is placed in the tomb
We sat for a few minutes before entering the Church, learning about the the parts of the Church belonged to who. Check our guide’s pic below.
Showing you guys the line for The Rock of Calvary, where Jesus’ Cross was mounted on the Rock of Golgotha (the top part of the rock can be seen at left beneath the glass enclosure).
It was around mid-afternoon when we arrived and there were already a lot of people waiting in line. You’re only allowed around a minute inside, so the line moves along pretty quickly.
The last station, the tomb of Jesus.
When we arrived they had just closed off entering to perform a ceremony. I’m not sure about how often they do it during the day and at what times but we decided to wait it out in the line.
We waited around 20-30 minutes before it was our turn to go inside and just like the Rock of Calvary, you’re only allowed a few minutes inside. It was short but so moving, definitely worth the long wait. There are no photos allowed inside but you can kind of see it in my photo above. When you enter, there’s small room and then there’s an even smaller room where you kind of have to duck down, which is Jesus’ tomb.
So amazing!!! Aside from the Stations of the cross, we did visit some other places along the way and also after the stations. Check some of them out below:
We passed another beautiful Church, the Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, where the Virgin Mary’s Tomb is. You can see the entrance to the tomb in the photo above, where the lady in blue is standing.
During the pilgrim, we stopped along the way at a hotel (can’t remember the name!). We paid a few shekels for the entrance and climbed the stairs to the top floor, where there was an amazing view of Jerusalem.
We also stopped by King David’s Tomb. It was quite a small room and there were a lot of people, so e didn’t stay long but it was nice to learn a little bit about him.
The Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall, our last stop for the day. A holy and sacred place for the Jewish. We wrote prayers on pieces of paper and headed to the Wall (the men on the left side and women on the right) and placed them in the crevices. People say that you should never turn your back towards the wall which is why you’ll see a lot, if not all, walking backwards away from the wall.
Walking the Stations of the Cross is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far! Have you guys ever been? Or do you have plans to visit in the future? Let me know in the comments section below.