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Informative Information

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

History of the Stations of the Cross

 Some Signs and Symbols in the Catholic Church

The Two Men Crucified Next to Jesus, Which One are You?

Symbols of Catholic Faith

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre[a] is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.[1] According to traditions dating back to the 4th century, it contains two sites considered holy in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified,[2] at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, which is where he was buried and resurrected.[3] Each time the church was rebuilt, some of the antiquities from the preceding structure were used in the newer renovation.[4] The tomb itself is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicule. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site.[5][6]

Within the church proper are the last four stations of the Cross of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the 4th century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’).

Control of the church itself is shared, a simultaneum, among several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing property over parts of the church are the Roman CatholicGreek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the CopticSyriac, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches.

From Wikipedia

The devotion of the Stations of the Cross can be traced to the late 4th century when pilgrims flocked to the Holy Land from all parts of the world to visit the land of Jesus. The most important place they visited was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which the Emperor Constantine built in 335 AD atop Calvary and the tomb of Jesus.
Pilgrim processions to this church were common.
Egeria, a nun from Gaul who visited the Holy Land in the 4th century, recalls walking with other Christians in a procession on Holy Thursday from the garden of Gethsemane to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where they celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The Via Dolorosa
The gospels recall incidents that occurred when Jesus was condemned and made his way to Calvary, but since the Jerusalem of his day was almost completely destroyed by Roman armies in 70 AD, only a few places, like the place where he died and was buried, were really known to early Christian pilgrims.
Over the years, pilgrim processions– beginning at the ruins of the Fortress Antonia and ending at the church of the Holy Sepulcher–were accepted as the way Jesus went to his death. The route was known as the “Via Dolorosa,” the “Sorrowful Way;” Today, it winds through the crowded areas of Jerusalem’s Old City, and pilgrims still prayerfully travel it.
“Stations” recalling specific incidents that took place as Jesus went to Calvary developed along this venerable route. Most of the 14 traditional stations found there today and in churches throughout the world are taken from the gospels, above all, from St. Luke’s account.
But other incidents are not mentioned in the gospels, for example his three falls, his meeting with his mother, his meeting with Veronica who wipes his face with a cloth. Where did these scenes come from? They came from pilgrims devoutly meditating on the passion of Jesus.
John’s gospel reports that Mary stood by the cross of Jesus. (John 19,25-27) Wouldn’t she been among the crowd accompanying him to Calvary and wouldn’t they have met on the way? Pilgrims walking that way believed she did.
Jesus would be very weak during his passion after the scourging he received from Pilate’s soldiers. Why else was Simon of Cyrene pressed into carrying his cross? As they traveled the rough winding streets of the Via Dolorosa, pilgrims came to believe that he fell more than once.
The story of Veronica is not found in the gospels, but in early eastern apocryphal writings, like the Acts of Pilate, which tells of a woman named Veronica who possessed a cloth imprinted with the face of Jesus. Pilgrims from the western church returning to Europe passed her story on.
The story highlights the role of women during his passion and death. Matthew and Mark begin their accounts of the passion with the story of an unknown woman who anoints Jesus with precious ointment at Bethany, at the same time that Judas and others are plotting his death. (Matthew 26, 6-13; Mark 14,3-9)
As he went to Calvary, “A great number of people followed him and among them where women were beating their breasts and wailing over him. “ (Luke 23,27) On Calvary, “Many women were also there looking on from a distance.” (Matthew 27,55) Women attended his burial and returned on Easter Sunday to finish anointing his body. (Matthew 28, 1-10)
The gospels acknowledge the role of women, a customary role, in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Can we see the story of Veronica as symbolic of what all women did then? As a reward for ministering to the One who suffered, died and rose again, they discovered the face of God.

Courtesy of Passion of Christ

1. Fleurs de-lis: An age-old symbol for Lilly flower, used to represent the resurrection. It stands for royalty and divinity. Its three petals bound together at the base represent the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons. The whiteness and purity are used to represent Mary, Mother of Jesus.

2. INRI: Latin sign inscriptions hung over Jesus when he was crucified. These represents the Latin phrase:
Iudaeorum OF THE JEWS
Pontius Pilate nailed this notice over Jesus as he lay down on the cross. Originally, it was written in the Hebrew (Aramaic) language.

3. IHS: First three letters for the Greek spelling of “IHSUS”, JESUS. These are
sometimes written overlayed on top of each other. Also, used as an acronym for the Latin expression, “Iesus Hominum Salvator,” meaning,
“Jesus Savior of Men.”

4. Crossed Keys: A pair of keys that overlap and interlock, creating “X.” It represents the metaphorical keys that Jesus Christ promised to St. Peter,
empowering him to take to lead the Church. It symbolizes the Papal

In the Gospel of Luke, we are told that during Our Blessed Lord’s crucifixion, there were two other men suffering the same death, one to either side of Him. The one to Christ’s right has become known as the “Good Thief,” while the one to His left is referred to as the “Unrepentant Thief.” 
While the Gospels do not mention specific names, tradition tells us the Good Thief was named Saint Dismas, and the Unrepentant Thief, Gestas.
While both men were suffering the same gruesome execution and were both in the presence of Christ, their reactions to their situation are quite different. Gestas reviles Our Lord and says, “Are You not the Messiah? Save Yourself and us.” (Lk. 23:39) Gestas asks to come down from his cross.  
But Dismas does not ask to be taken down. Dismas rebukes Gestas and proclaims Christ’s innocence, and in one of the most startling and beautiful moments of the Gospel, does not ask to be taken down from his sure and painful death. He asks, instead, to be taken up with Christ, saying “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Lk 23:42). Jesus replies to Saint Dismas saying, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  
This is the lesson of Saint Dismas, who accepted his cross, and placed his hope not in this world, but in the promise of the next. Which of these two are you? Do wish to come down from your cross and continue to be of this earth, or do you wish to accept your cross and be taken up to Christ in the life to come?