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Good Friday

Stations of the Cross
Time of Death: 3pm
Only day of the year where there is NO mass

Good Friday is the day on which Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Catholics are joined by almost all other Christians in solemn commemoration on this day.
It is also a legal holiday around much of the world.

According to the gospels, Jesus was betrayed by Judas on the night of the Last Supper, commemorated on Holy Thursday. The morning following Christ's arrest, he was brought
before Annas, a powerful Jewish cleric. Annas condemned Jesus for blasphemy for refusing to repudiate Annas' words that He was the Son of God. From there, Jesus was sent toPontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province.

Pontius Pilate questioned Jesus but found no reason to condemn Him. Instead, he suggested Jewish leaders deal with Jesus according to their own law. But under Roman law, they could not execute Jesus, so they appealed to Pilate to issue the order to kill Jesus.

Pilate appealed to King Herod, who found no guilt in Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate once again. Pilate declared Jesus to be innocent, and washed his hands to show that he wanted nothing to do with Jesus, but the crowds were enraged. To prevent a riot and to protect his station, Pilate reluctantly agreed to execute Jesus and sentenced him to crucifixion. Jesus was convicted of proclaiming himself to be the King of the Jews.

Before his execution, Jesus was flogged, which was a customary practice intended to weaken a victim before crucifixion. Crucifixion was an especially painful method of execution and was perfected by the Romans as such. It was reserved for the worst criminals, and generally Roman citizens, women, and soldiers were exempt in most cases.


During his flogging, the soldiers tormented Jesus, crowning Him with thorns and ridicule.

Following his flogging, Jesus was compelled to carry his cross to the place of His execution, at Calvary. During his walk to the site of His execution, Jesus fell three times and the Roman guards randomly selected Simon, a Cyrene, to help Jesus.

After arrival at Calvary, Jesus was nailed to the cross and crucified between two thieves. One of the thieves repented of his sins and accepted Christ while on the cross beside Him. A titulus, or sign, was posted above Christ to indicate His supposed crime. The titulus read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." It is commonly abbreviated in Latin as "INRI" (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum).

During Christ's last few hours on the cross, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus was given a sponge with sour wine mixed with gall, a weak, bitter painkiller often given to crucified victims.

Prior to death, Jesus spoke His last words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" This line is the opening of Psalm 22, and it may have been common practice to recite lines of songs to deliver a greater message. Properly understood, the last words of Christ were triumphant. Guards then lanced Jesus' side to ensure He was dead.

At the moment of Christ's death, an earthquake occurred, powerful enough to open tombs. The long, thick curtain at the Temple was said to have torn from top to bottom.

Following the incredible events of the day, the body of Christ was removed from the cross and laid in a donated tomb, buried according to custom.

The events of Good Friday are commemorated in the Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion often performed by Catholics during Lent and especially on Good Friday. The Stations of the Cross are commonly recited on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent. Another devotional, the Acts of Reparation, may also be prayed.

Good Friday is a day of fasting within the Church. Traditionally, there is no Mass and no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday. A liturgy may still be performed and communion, if taken, comes from hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday. Baptism, penance, and anointing of the sick may be performed, but only in unusual circumstances. Church bells are silent. Altars are left bare.

What happened on the first Good Friday?

Quite a number of things. During the night, Jesus had been arrested and taken before the high priests Annas and Caiaphas. It was during this time that Peter denied him.


According to the gospels, Jesus:

  • Was taken before Pilate in the morning

  • Sent to Herod

  • Returned to Pilate

  • Was mocked and beaten

  • Saw Barabbas released in his stead

  • Was crowned with thorns

  • Was condemned to death

  • Carried the crushing burden of his cross

  • Told the weeping women what would happen in the future

  • Was crucified between two thieves

  • Forgave those who crucified him

  • Entrusted the Virgin Mary to the beloved disciple

  • Assured the good thief of his salvation

  • Said his famous seven last words

  • Cried out and died

In addition:

  • There was darkness over the land

  • There was an earthquake

  • The veil of the temple was torn in two

  • Many saints of the Old Testament period were raised

  • A soldier pierced Christ's side and blood and water flowed out

  • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body

  • He was buried in Joseph's own tomb

  • A guard was set over the tomb

  • All Jesus' friends and family grieved at his death 

If you’d like to read the gospel accounts themselves, you can use these links:

What happens after the Celebration of the Lord's Passion?

Paschales Solemnitatis notes:

  • After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains however, with four candles.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Altar





O Jesus, Who by reason of Thy burning love for us 
hast willed to be crucified 
and to shed Thy Most Precious Blood 
for the redemption and salvation of our souls, 
look down upon us here gathered together 
in remembrance of Thy most sorrowful Passion and Death, 
fully trusting in Thy mercy; 
cleanse us from sin by Thy grace, 
sanctify our toil, 
give unto us and unto all those who are dear to us our 
daily bread, 
sweeten our sufferings, 
bless our families, 
and to the nations so sorely afflicted, 
grant Thy peace, 
which is the only true peace, 
so that by obeying Thy commandments 
we may come at last to the glory of heaven.


Church of the Holy Sepulchre



Many churches have a Live Stations of the Cross Precession

The Stations of the Cross

1. Jesus is condemned to death

2. Jesus bears his cross

3. Jesus falls the first time

4. Jesus meets his mother

5. Jesus is helped by Simon

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

7. Jesus falls a second time

8. Jesus speaks to the women

9. Jesus falls a third time

10. Jesus is stripped of his garments

11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross

12. Jesus dies on the Cross

13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross

14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

The tomb of Jesus Christ is located in

the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre





Walking the Via Dolorosa, "Way of Sorrow," and Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem

The circuitous route is believed by many to follow the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion.




Station I
At the Old City and the entrance to the Lions’ Gate, the starting point of the Via Dolorosa. Walking through the gate, the first station is a few yards ahead at the present day Umariya Elementary School. Each station is marked with a medallion indicating the station in Roman numerals. You have to pay attention though, because they are easy to miss. As you walk through the souks in the Muslim Quarter, the first station is on your left. It is believed that it was here where Jesus was condemned to death.



Station II

Continue on the Via Dolorosa until you reach the Ecce Homo Convent, location of the second station. It was here where Pontius Pilate gave his famous Ecce Homo, Behold the Man, speech, bound Christ, placed thorns atop his head and gave him his cross. The nearby Ecce Homo archway was part of a larger gateway built by Emperor Hadrian as the entrance to the city Forum. This is one of the easiest stations to find, but keep your eyes open as you continue along the walk.



Station III

As you approach the next intersection, you will turn left, but first look for the third station of the cross located next to the Polish Catholic Chapel. This location marks the first of three times Jesus fell, according to tradition. This is where the Via Dolorosa can get a little confusing, so go slow and keep your eyes peeled for the discs.



Station IV

After you turn left,

the next station will be on your left hand side

and is the site where Christ met his mother.

Today it is home to an 

Armenian Orthodox oratory. 



Station V
The Via Dolorosa is not a straight road, and this is one of the biggest twists in the path. On the corner of the next street on your right is the fifth station.

This is where the Via Dolorosa continues after the curve.

The fifth station is where Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus.

On the right side of the door to the Franciscan church is this spot many believe Jesus touched to steady himself. His hand left a mark in the wall, which has been caressed and kissed by thousands of pilgrims




Station VI
The path ascends at this point and among the souks, on the left is the sixth station,

which is a little more controversial. According to tradition, this is the point where

Veronica wiped the face of Jesus, creating the Veil of Veronica.

The Veil supposedly was imprinted with the image of Christ after she wiped his visage.



Station VII
Continue walking up through the souks until you once again reach another turn.

Before turning left, the colorful red door straight ahead is the location of the seventh station, where Christ fell for the second time. Today the site is next to a Franciscan chapel and the intersection is the site of a major Roman crossroads.

Turn left to continue on to the next station.




Station VIII
This one is a little tricky to find, but after turning left at Souq Khan al-Zeit, cross the market street and ascend the steps of Aqabat al-Khanqah, opposite the Station VIII Souvenir Bazaar. This often overlooked station is where Jesus met a group of pious women and stopped in order to offer them a sermon. As with so many of the stations, this one is adjacent to a religious institution, the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Charalampus. Return to the Souq Khan al-Zeit to conclude your walk.

A stone with a monogram, embedded into the wall, marks the station
("IC-XC NI-KA", means: Jesus Christ conquers).




Station IX
Station IX can also be a little confusing to find, but it also marks your departure from the Via Dolorosa and entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the remaining stations of the cross are found. Continue south down Khan al-Zeit and you will soon see an entranceway to the outside on your right. Ascend the stairs and you will find yourself at the Ethiopian and Coptic Monasteries. Every major church is responsible for a certain portion of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Ethiopians control the roof, the present location of their monasteries. Continue along the walkway and you will soon come to an archway topped with a cross and the dome of the Holy Sepulchre in the background. On the pillar just beyond the arch is the ninth station of the cross, where Jesus fell for a third time.






Station X – XIV
Continue along the pathway through the Monasteries, cross a courtyard on your left and go through the door at the end of the yard. This leads down through the Coptic chapel adjacent to the Holy Sepulchre and the courtyard of the Church itself. Enter the massive Church of the Holy Sepulchre through the large, wooden doors and walk up the stairs to Calvary on your right.  This entire area of the church marks the next four stations of the cross:

  • X Jesus is stripped of His garments (entrance to Calvary)

  • XI Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Roman Catholic side altar)

  • XII Jesus dies on the cross (main Greek Orthodox altar)

  • XIII Jesus’ body is removed from the cross (to the left of the main altar and marked by statue of Mary)

The most impressive of the stations in the Calvary balcony overlooking the church interior is the ornate altar built over the Rock of Calvary, where it is believed the Cross stood. Worshipers may touch or kiss the rock, which pilgrims have believed to be the site of the Holy Cross since the 4th century.









Station XIV
After some moments of reflection, retrace your steps back down the Calvary stairs, pass the Stone of Unction until you reach the rotunda. Under this massive dome is an equally massive black chamber, the aedicule, the tomb of Christ and the site of the final station. Several churches have access to this structure and perform mass at the site daily. The line to enter the strange, cube structure can be quite long, so be sure to visit early. Once you enter, there are two rooms. The first contains a fragment of the stone believed to have sealed Jesus’ tomb and the second is the tomb itself.


The first chamber is called the "Chapel of the Angel". A fragment of the blocking stone of the Sepulchre is stored here. It is called after the angel that removed the stone. The Biblical text (Matthew 28 2-3): "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow").



Time of Death:
Time of Stations of the Cross: 3pm

Mark 15:25 crucifixion takes place at the third hour (9 a.m.) and Jesus' death at the ninth hour (3 p.m.).

However, in John 19:14 Jesus is still before Pilate at the sixth hour.

Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church, and indeed through abstinence and fasting


Recipe & Tradition:

Hot Cross Buns

Some Christians fast on Good Friday. This helps them remember the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the day of crucifixion. In the same way, fish is often eaten as a substitute for meat.

It is also traditional to eat warm hot cross buns on Good Friday. Hot Cross Buns with there combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavors have long been an Easter tradition, with the pastry cross on top of the buns symbolizing and reminding Christians of the cross that Jesus was killed on.

They were once sold by street vendors who sang a little song about them.

"Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns, One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns."

British Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns


Makes 12


  • 2/3 cup water

  • 3 Earl Grey tea bags

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) packet of dried yeast

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice (see Recipe Notes)

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 1 orange, zested

  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins

For the "cross" topping:

  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water

  • Milk, for glazing

  • Oil, for greasing

  • Apricot jam or golden syrup, for glazing


  1. Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop or in the microwave. Remove from heat and steep the tea bags in the water for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of them and discard. Let the tea cool until it is lukewarm (about 100°F).

  2. In a small bowl, stir together the brewed tea, yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of the flour. Set aside for 15 minutes.

  3. Heat the butter and milk together in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has just melted; remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Whisk in the egg.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining flour, salt, mixed spice, lemon zest, orange zest and currants. Pour the tea mixture and the milk mixture over top. Stir together until there are only a few floury patches remaining. Tip the contents of the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.

  5. Clean the large mixing bowl and grease with some oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  6. Divide the risen dough evenly into 12 pieces and roll them into balls. Place onto a parchment-lined baking tray spaced a few inches apart. Slash a cross into the top of each bun using a sharp knife or razor. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for 30 minutes until doubled in size.

  7. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Make the "cross" topping by stirring together the flour and enough water to make a loose paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small, plain tip (or a sandwich bag with the tip of one of the corners cut off).

  9. Brush the risen buns all over with a little milk then pipe the cross mixture into the cross-shaped cuts.

  10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown all over. While still warm, brush them with golden syrup or apricot jam. Cool completely then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  • Mixed spice is available in supermarkets in the UK. It's very similar to pumpkin pie spice or a general "baking spice" mix — it's a mixture of ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. 


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