The Folly of the Cross

Concerning the service

The devotion known as the Way of the Cross is an adaptation to local usage of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem: the offering of prayer at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death.
The number of stations, which at first varied widely, finally became fixed at fourteen. Of these, eight are based directly on events recorded in the Gospels. The remaining six (numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 13) are based on inferences from the Gospel account or from pious legend. If desired, these six stations may be omitted.
The form which follows is appropriate either as a public service or as a private devotion, particularly on the Fridays of Lent, but it should not displace the Proper Liturgy of Good Friday.
Traditionally, the stations are made before a series of plain wooden crosses placed along the walls of the church or in some other convenient place. With each cross there is sometimes associated a pictorial representation of the event being commemorated.
The hymn Stabat Mater (“At the cross her station keeping”) has frequently been associated with this service, but is not an integral part of it. Selected stanzas of this hymn may appropriately be sung at the entrance of the ministers, and (after the opening devotions before the Altar) as the procession approaches the first station.
In the form which follows, the Trisagion (“Holy God”) is the chant recommended as the procession goes from station to station. Alternatively, the Trisagion may be used to conclude each station, and stanzas of appropriate hymns sung as the procession moves. It is appropriate that all present take part in the procession.
The officiant at the service, whether clerical or lay, customarily leads the opening versicle at each station and reads the concluding Collect. The Readings (and the versicles which follow) are appropriately assigned to other persons.


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Credits

An adaptation of the traditional Stations of the Cross, based on the usage of the Episcopal Church Book of Occasional Services and The Folly of God. The Folly of God was inspired by the art of Sieger Köder and written by Rina Risitano, with illustrations by Sieger Köder and Mary Louise Winters.
Booklet prepared by The Episcopal Church of St. Simon and St. Jude (1110 Kinley Road Irmo, SC 29063; http://ecsssj.org)
The Folly of God, © 2001 Pauline Books and Media, used with permission for non-commercial liturgical purposes.
The Book of Occasional Services, © 2004 by the Church Pension Fund. Cover art Understand by Sieger Köder