Stations of the Cross - Online Description
The Stations of The Cross
Our Stations Of The Cross have been specially commissioned for Christ Church and designed and painted by Michael Coles, an artist who has done many commissions in churches, both stained glass and paintings. They are painted in acrylic paint on board, and shaped so as to complement the shape of the church windows.
YOU CAN VIEW OUR STATIONS IN OUR PICTURE GALLERY
The Stations represent the traditional stopping places of the Cross to remind us of the events of Good Friday. The devotion dates back to medieval times when Christians made their personal pilgrimages following the last steps of Jesus on earth. Traditionally there are fourteen Stations depicting what happened to Jesus between his condemnation before Pilate and his burial in the sepulchre.
Here at Christ Church there is also a Fifteenth Station representing “The Resurrection” to remind us that one day with Jesus, we will know the joy of the resurrection if we persevere to the end. In addition to portraying the events of Good Friday our pictures incorporate local scenes– St.Albans, Waltham Abbey & Waltham Cross – to remind us that the Good Friday events are still relevant today.
Our stations start to the left of the war memorial, and continue around the walls of the church, ending by the Font.
The Stations Of The Cross were blessed and dedicated by The Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Bishop of Hertford, on Holy Cross Day + 15th September 2002.
PRAYER OF BLESSING USED AT THE DEDICATION OF THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Lord God almighty, whose Son, Jesus Christ,
trod the Way of the Cross for our salvation,
bless and dedicate these Stations of the Cross
to your Glory and the benefit of all who see them.
Grant that by our consideration of the Way of the Cross,
we may ever keep in mind Our Lord’s Passion and Death
and so come to share in the glories of his Resurrection,
For He now lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
THE ART WORK + GENERAL POINTS
+ The only place where black is used is for the Cross and the figures in the background - the roman soldiers, the forces of darkness compelling Our Lord along the Way of the Cross.
+ The sky gets progressively darker – from light blue to almost black. In the Resurrection panel light returns, radiating from the empty tomb in increasing circles of yellow and blue.
+ In all the panels the unnamed and unknown people have no faces. This shows up better the faces of characters whom we know from the Gospels.
+ All the scenes are shown against a background of local buildings – St.Albans, Waltham Abbey & Waltham Cross. This is a common feature of early paintings and emphasises the connections in place and time between the Crucifixion and our own times.
1. JESUS IS CONDEMNED BEFORE PILATE
Behind Pilate is St. Albans Town Hall, its architecture inspired by the Classical style of Roman buildings. The eagles are the emblems of Roman power. Behind Jesus, in the distance, is St.Albans Abbey. In front of Jesus is bowl of water - a reference to Pilate washing his hands of the affair. (Matthew 27.24)
2. JESUS ACCEPTS THE CROSS
The Roman soldiers are shown with their spears.
3. JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME
The buildings of St.Albans form the background.
4. JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER
In the background is the Clock Tower at St.Albans
5. JESUS IS HELPED BY SIMON OF CYRENE
Simon of Cyrene, in deep blue, carries the cross. The other figures are Alexander and Rufus, the sons of Simon. (Mark 15.21)
6. VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
Although not recorded in the scriptures, traditionally the cloth which Veronica used was then imprinted with the face of Jesus. In the background is the Fighting Cock, said to be one of the oldest pubs in St Albans.
7. JESUS FALLS A SECOND TIME
In the background is the Abbey. The kneeling donkeys allude to the tradition that only the beasts recognised the divinity of Christ and knelt in front of him. Similar images can be seen in the fresco of Sienna Cathedral.
8. THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM WEEP FOR JESUS
This event is described in the Gospel of St Luke (Luke 23.27) In the background is the Abbey Gate.
9. JESUS FALLS A THIRD TIME
10. JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
Notice the dice in the foreground – Luke 24.34 and John 19.23
11. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS.
Against a very dark background we see the figures of Jesus, John and Mary, his mother, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19.25)
12. JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Luke tells us that the us stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country (Luke 24.44). Notice the lance which pierced Jesus’ side, and the sponge, soaked in cheap wine, which the soldiers gave Jesus to quench his thirst.
13. JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
This panel is painted almost entirely in black and dark shades - emphasising the darkness
14. JESUS’ BODY IS LAID IN THE TOMB
15. THE RESURRECTION
In the Resurrection panel light returns, radiating from the empty tomb in increasing circles of yellow and blue.
The radiant Angel seated on the open tomb points skyward and announces the risen Christ to the world.
At the foot of the panel we see the women carrying the spices for Jesus’ body (Luke 24.55)
On the left side panel we see King Harold, who is said to be buried at Waltham Abbey; King Edward 1st and his wife Eleanor, who is offering the Eleanor Cross to the Risen Christ.
On the right side panel are King Charles 1st; St.Alban, holding the palm of martyrdom and Amphibalus, the priest who baptised Alban and for whom Alban stood in when the Roman soldiers came to arrest him.
In the background: on the left, the brook and Christ Church. On the right, Saint Albans Abbey.