The Old Saint Paul’s ‘Stations’
The Old Saint Paul’s Stations were acquired in 1995 in a poor state of repair. They were restored by the Conservation Department of the National Museums of Scotland in March 1996. The stations were installed in Old Saint Paul’s on 23 March 1996, and used for the first time on Palm Sunday 1996.
The stations comprise lime-wood reliefs mounted on an oak base surmounted with the cross, and are to be found on the walls of the nave.
Stations of the Cross through History
The term ‘Stations of the Cross’ refers both to a series of fourteen representations of events on Christ’s journey to the Cross and the popular devotion of passing before them in meditation on Christ’s sacrifice.
The devotion reflects the practice of pilgrims to Jerusalem who, from earliest times to the current day, have followed the way of the Cross from the house of Pilate to Calvary and wished to re-enact this journey on their return home.
The traditional pilgrimage route in Jerusalem starts at the site of Pilate’s Judgement Hall in the Antonia and follows the Via Dolorosa through the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem to come to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on Calvary Hill.
When the Franciscans received custody of the holy places in medieval times, they encouraged the erection of tableaux in their own churches depicting the sacrificial journey. The custom spread widely to other churches.
The content and number of the stations has varied widely throughout the ages, but the number was settled as fourteen under Clement XII in the 18th century. Eight of the stations directly reflect incidents recorded in the Gospels; the remaining six are based on inferences from the Gospel or from pious legend.
With the recovered theology of the paschal mystery stressing the integral unity of Christ’s death and resurrection, a fifteenth station representing the resurrection has frequently been added to the series.