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Rome and the Via Crucis

Rome, Colosseum, Via CrucisRome and the Via Crucis

Without a doubt, the most important Easter event in Italy is the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) in Rome on Good Friday. 
This Via Crucis takes place in one of the Eternal City's most evocative settings, running the short distance from the Colosseum to the Temple of Venus in the Roman Forum, and celebrated by the Pope. 

The Via Crucis, depicting the final dramatic moments of the Passion of the Christ, makes reference to the Gospels and is also known as Calvary, in reference to the mount of Jesus’s Crucifixion. 
In Rome the Via Crucis is curated to portray as faithfully as possible the events of the Passion; the atmosphere is particularly fascinating, especially during the representation’s finale, near the Convent of St. Bonaventure on the Palatine. Amidst the ancient ruins and Rome’s typical pines, pilgrims and worshippers witness this breathtaking display.

Thousands of spectators will watch the events of the rite of the Via Crucis in Rome on March 29th. This year the tradition will be an even bigger draw, given that the newly-elected Pope Francis will officiate. 
From year to year, the Pope either personally carries the cross from Station to Station, or presides over the celebration from a stage on the Palatine Hill as others carry it. And each year one person or a group of people is invited to write thoughts and meditations to be read at each Station. 
In occasion of the Great Jubilee Year of 2000, it was Pope John Paul II that wrote the texts. The celebration is transmitted on worldwide television in seven languages and 70 countries. 

The Via Crucis and Indulgence
For the Roman Catholic Church, the exercise of the Via Crucis is tied to the plenary indulgence, according to the conditions established by the Church. 
To obtain indulgence, the faithful must pray at each Station, and meditate on the mystery of the Passion. 
Nonetheless, the same indulgence can be applied to those who do not physically visit the Stations, as long as he or she meditates on the Passion for 30 minutes.