The Fourth Station of the Cross
Here Jesus Met His Mother on the Way to Calvary
Location – The Via Dolorosa
Map Coordinates - 31.77987, 35.23231
Here is where our Octagon Tour groups can see where Jesus was intercepted by His mother on the Via Dolorosa.
It’s a non-Biblical event, but tradition says that this was the moment when Jesus was met by His mother on His way to Calvary. Even though you see a metal disk on the wall of the street identifying this station, the Fourth Station of the Cross is not actually on today’s Via Dolorosa. You have to go inside the church, and downstairs to arrive at your destination.
There is a floor mosaic in this church that illustrates the outline of Mary’s sandals. This mosaic dates back to a church that was here in the 5th century, meaning that within 400 years after Jesus carried the cross, the Jerusalem church marked this spot as the place where Mary encountered her condemned Son.
Was Mary actually here?
There is good reason to believe that she was. On the day that Jesus carried the cross down the Via Dolorosa, this street was probably lined with many bystanders - eyewitnesses who could have started the legend that the Matriarch of the church, and the mother of the prophet Jesus confronted her Son on this very spot. In fact this legend was so credible, that a church was built here on this very spot, and a mosaic of her sandals was laid on the floor of this church, suggesting that someone was absolutely sure where she stood.
Consider what the writer Luke says, “And following Him there was a great crowd of people, and of women who were also mourning and lamenting Him.”
We know that Mary was in Jerusalem that day. According to Gospel of John 19:25, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” In fact, in that same passage, John reveals to Mary was close enough to the cross to hear Jesus whisper His last words (JN 19:26,27).
By confronting Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, Mary was doing what any mother would do. She was next to Him. And so the encounter between Jesus and Mary that the fourth station of the cross recalls is entirely plausible. Given what we know about Mary from the Bible, we have no reason to doubt that she was here, and that she seized the opportunity to comfort her condemned Son.