The Stations of the Cross also called The Way of the Cross, consist of prayers and meditations commemoration the Passion and death of Christ. There are fourteen stations each representing an event which occurred during Jesus’ Passion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. The Stations were originally performed many centuries ago by Christian pilgrims who visited the Holy Land. However the Franciscans, who were given custody of the Holy Places in the Holy Land in the 1300s, made it very popular. Countless Christians have all enriched their spiritual lives with this powerful devotion.
During the crusades (1095-1270), pilgrims in the Holy Land often walk in the footsteps of Jesus to Calvary. After the Moslems recaptured the Holy Land pilgrimages were too dangerous and, the Stations of the Cross in churches became a popular substitute pilgrimage throughout Europe.
Stations of the Cross are a Holy Week activity not just restricted to Good Friday. A growing number of churches set up Stations of the Cross at the beginning of Holy Week so that people can walk around them in their own time reflecting on Christ’s suffering and death. Because of that I wanted to get this list up early for those that are still looking for ideas.
There are thousands of resources for Stations of the Cross out there. I have tried to put together a collection from around the world attempting to highlight some of the challenging issues of our turbulent world that are portrayed and have continued adding to that theme this year. You might like to check out the additional images I have posted on Pinterest too.
Most of the images I have collected are far from the traditional stations of the cross. If there are other international images you think should be a part of this collection please add them in the comments. I would like to continue to enrich this list each year and there is still enough time before Good Friday for me to update this post. If you are looking for a fairly traditional set of reflections and images this one on Catholic Online is hard to beat. Enjoy!
Stations of the Cross Kits by our Friends
Godspace contributor, Lilly Lewin, has made her Stations of the Cross kit available through Free Range Worship.
Scott Erickson in Portland has also made variety of fantastic Stations of the Cross kits
- A Stations of the Cross booklet is available as a free download from the Grotto Network.
- Catholic Agency for Overseas Development presents a Powerpoint and Leadership guide for Stations of the Cross for Lent 2023 – Free to download.
- Food for the Poor offers fourteen stations focused on the “suffering [of] Christ in the experience of every person who suffers from poverty or cries out for help”. Scroll to the end to download the pdf version.
- I have posted more images of stations of the Cross on Pinterest.
- Scott Erickson in Portland has also made a fantastic Stations in the Street kit for purchase.
I also love this stations of the cross which my own church St Andrews Episcopal in Seattle has put together using a set of stained glass window panels at the church
Explanation of the stations of the Cross:
- From a Catholic perspective
- From a Protestant perspective
- Another good article on the development of the Stations of the Cross
This very powerful Stations of the Cross uses the story of Filipino indigenous people as the backdrop for the Stations of the Cross
- These stations are found in the Passion Community in Glen Osmond, Australia
- The Way of the Cross by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
From New Zealand
- Stations of the Cross shown in the Chapel at the Home of Compassion, Island Bay. They are backlit and made of handmade coloured float glass.
- A excellent reflection on John Badcock’s Stations of the Cross by Dr Warren Feeney:
From Middle East and Sudan –
- I also came across this interesting set of Jordanian stamps which Mansour Mouasher has found depicting the Stations of the Cross.
- Rachel Gadsden is a British artist who is exhibited internationally and who works across the mainstream and disability art sectors, presenting cross-cultural visual dialogues that consider the most profound notions of what it is to be human. Her stations of the cross for St Joseph’s Cathedral Abu Dhabi are powerful.
From North America
- This series by Gwynth Leech sets the traditional imagery of the Stations of the Cross in the midst of contemporary conflicts. They were commissioned by Saint Paul’s on the Green in Norwalk Connecticut in 2004. It is a heartrending presentation of the stations of the Cross using images of refugees from Iraq and Sudan as spectators and participants.
- Im/migration Stations of the Cross by Nanette Sawyer. It’s a series of original art, looking through the lens of immigration/migration. How can the Jesus story teach us about immigration/migration issues, and how can the stories and experiences of immigrants and migrants increase our understanding of the Jesus story? Make sure you leave plenty of time for this one. Read the description and then click each station down the side – it is a very profound experience.
- This series by Minnesotan artist Anne Brink is fascinating.
- A good virtual series from the Huffington Post with interesting reflections to meditate on.
- Busted halo always has good liturgical resources and I found this video presentation of The Stations of the Cross to be a good one to spend time reflecting on.
From South America
- A very powerful presentation of the stations from the perspective of liberation theology by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina. This is one I like to revisit each year.
- This video is one of the first I put together with photos my friend Tom Balke took on a trip to Ecuador of artwork from Oscar Guayasamin, There is no music but I think it provides a powerful silent meditation for this season.
- I enjoyed meditating on this series by a nun in Bangalore India
- And another very beautiful, Korean Stations of the Cross by Korean sculptor Choi Jong-tae from Myeong-dong Cathedral.
- I love this stations of the cross from Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya. The designs were created by Father Angelbert M. Vang SJ from Yaoude, from the Cameroon who was a well-known historian, poet, musician and designer and executed by a Kenyan artist.
- From Nigeria The Fourteen Stations of the Cross: “This rare set of linocuts was printed in 1969 in several editions of about fifty by Bruce Onobrakpeya, an Urhobo man who has become Nigeria’s mast famous – and arguably best – artist.”
- And from Lodwar Cathedral Kenya this series of the Stations of the Cross seen through African eyes is very powerful. Here is one of the images.
- This Stations of the Cross series by Chris Gollon was commissioned by the Church of England for the Church of St John on Bethnal Green, in East London. Gollon took the unusual step of using his own son as the model for Jesus, his daughter as Mary, and his wife as Veronica. Fr Alan Green is cast as Nicodemus, and David Tregunna (Gollon’s friend and agent) as Joseph of Arimathea. The juxtaposition of real figures with imagined ones creates a heightened sense of reality. I think that the images are both compelling and powerful.
- This series by David O’Connell hangs in St Richards Chichester is another powerful series.
- Another series by Linda Sallnow in London
The Stations of the Cross by Karel Stadnik, 1973-5, Church of the Virgin Mary in Lhotka, Prague. This is a unique interpretation of the stations in which the a synthetic resin sculpter at each station depicts a different episode of human suffering. The traditional titles of the stations are what helps the observer to make the connection with the life of Christ. According to the web site, “The work was the idea of the local priest Vladimir Rudolf, during the difficult period after Soviet tanks had crushed the “Prague Spring”.”
- Catholic Mom has helpful books and Stations of the Cross for Kids.
- Check out this family Bible study for younger kids set up like stations of the cross.
- Multimedia Stations of the Cross from Loyola Press.
Virtual stations online:
- An excellent online video presentation from Jeruslaem.com I have not watched all of it yet but enjoyed what I watched.
- And from Jonny Baker in England a great idea – QR Stations of the Cross.
- And from Busted Halo as always, an excellent set of virtual stations of the cross. These stations relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason his vision of this Kingdom led to his death. Find a quiet place to watch these stations, and as you do the devotions be open to how God is speaking to you through the Stations of the Cross.
Here is the first meditation:
This is part of this series on Resources for Holy Week. All the posts are available through our Church Calendar.