Stations of the Cross – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The scenes of Jesus’ walk to His Crucifixion at Golgotha, the Stations of the Cross, are shown in two places in the Cathedral. The first is within the insets in the stained-glass windows lining the side walls of the nave. The second, more prominent depiction is in the oil paintings which line the side walls of the nave.

The two versions of Station Number One: Jesus is Condemned to Death are shown in the photographs above.

On the left is bottom inset on the side wall window in the northwest corner of the Cathedral. The stylized scene is painted on a small pane of clear glass in the window with some abstract representation, but one can see the stern look of Pontius Pilate and Jesus’ bowed posture in a red robe.

On the right is the more realistic portrayal in oil. These square-shaped paintings inside gold-edging within arch-topped dark-wood frames were restored in 1971 by John B. Matthew who also restored the Sistine Madonna in 1970 and three other oil paintings in the Cathedral. The paintings are full of the abundance of emotion present on that fateful day, as well as full of figurative details providing a “story” of each scene. In this example, one will see Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the condemnation, a soldier holding aloft the motivation behind the condemnation (the INRI inscription “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”) and the sticks and ropes which would soon be used to torture Jesus. The central figure (Jesus) is dressed in red as His haloed head (unexpectedly, already thorn-crowned) tilts upward as His sorrow-filled eyes look to His Father. Similar emotional, historical and figurative details are present in the other paintings which were designed to permit the faithful to experience the fullness of the Crucifixion narrative without even reading the Biblical texts

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