Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. It may be done at any time, but is most commonly done during the Season of Lent, especially on Good Friday and on Friday evenings during Lent.
In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV endorsed as official Church policy the view that the Colosseum was a sacred site where early Christians had been martyred. He forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry and consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who perished there.
Placing a cross on a pedestal, as a symbol of the sufferings of all Christian martyrs, this cross is still the starting point for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Since then, it has become an object of worship for Christians and was protected from further destruction and ruin; in fact, Popes after that restored and consolidated it.
He led an annual public prayer of the Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum on Good Friday. Originally, the Pope himself carried the cross from station to station, but in his last years when age and infirmity limited his strength, John Paul presided over the celebration from a stage on the Palatine Hill, while others carried the cross.
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