Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Stations of the Cross in Paris

According to Christians, Christ had to carry his cross from the place he was sentenced to death to where he was crucified. To commemorate this "Way of the Cross" (also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, Via Dolorosa...) some Catholics re-enact this procession on Good Friday wherever they find themselves. I came across one of these processions yesterday in Paris (in the 17th arrondissement) on my way back from work and took several pictures, but only this one was good in my opinion. Do they have the same tradition in your country?


  1. la photo est super. on sait pas forcement que c'est a paris, mais qu'importe. le genre de photo qui ne peut pas laisser indifferent.

    le chemin de croix se fait assez souvent dans l'eglise, devant les 14 stations - en tout cas c'est comme ca qu'on le faisait dans mon village. les processions dont je me souviens le plus, c'est pour l'assomption (15 aout). a st jean de luz par exemple, elle est tres impressionnante. on se balade dans la ville avec des cierges allumes en chantant magnificat, etc.

    ici au bresil, il y a un chemin de croix qui est hyper connu, dans le nord-est pres de recife. c'est inscrit dans les 10 trucs a faire dans le lonely planet. y suis pas encore alle, mais a l'occasion je te dirai...

  2. Happy Easter and Happy Passover, everybody.

    So I hear you guys in France are getting Monday off? Some people have all the luck! ;-)

    Thanks for posting accompanying pictures to this one, Eric. I like the one with the guy getting money out of the ATM in the back.

  3. Yes indeed, we have a similar station of cross event in the Mexican "Pilsen" community here in Chicago, complete with a chosen person carrying the cross. If the daily newspaper features a photo I will post it to my flicker page and post the link here tomorrow.

    A peaceful Easter to all.

  4. We do have the same tradition here in the Philippines. Some even crucified themselves on the cross believing that they will be forgiven by God for all their sins...

    Joyeuses Pâques à tous!!!

  5. J’ai remarqué que le croyant dans la photo est d’origine étrangère. C’est le cas en France où la plupart des croyants de nos jours ne sont plus des Français ?

    En tout cas, joyeuses Pâques !

  6. not that i know of.....i live on a university campus and among the young students here, there does not seem to be any feelings of respect or reflection on this day (besides going home for sunday brunch with their families)....the drunken parties are going on as usual....I know that i'm generalizing but it's just interesting to observe....

    just a question for everyone to think about: do you think that religion is more of a symbol and tie to their family for young people nowadays?

    happy holidays everyone! i hope you are having gorgeous weather like we are here in Washington DC!

  7. I can honestly say that I never heard of this tradtion until moving to France. I can't imagine them doing this through the streets of Ft. Lauderdale or Miami without being shot. Lovely, moving photo Eric.

  8. J'ignorais qu'il y avait ce genre de procession à Paris. Cette photo est vraiment superbe. Elle est touchante aussi car elle témoigne d'une grande ferveur de la part de ce croyant.
    Et c'est un joli symbol aussi. Je ne suis pas raciste (bien au contraire !) mais j'avoue que cela me fait un peu drôle de voir que c'est une personne de couleur qui porte la croix. Dans notre petite paroisse du nord, en ce moment, c'est un prêtre rwandais qui célèbre la messe, je trouve ça formidable et je dois dire qu'il est génial !
    C'est beau cette croix qui réunit les hommes, non ?
    Merci infiniment, Eric, pour cette magnifique photo et félicitations !
    Joyeuses Pâques à tout le monde.

  9. just a question for everyone to think about: do you think that religion is more of a symbol and tie to their family for young people nowadays?

    That's a really good question, Nahal. I never thought about it that way, but I bet there is a lot of truth to that statement. The good thing is, no matter what kind of belief you grow up with, eventually as you get older, (hopefully) you learn to find your own voice, your own ways, and your own beliefs.

  10. salut eric ton clichés est trés prenant visuellement, on n'imagine la concentration porté sur ce chretien , sur bastia nous avons eu aussi notre chemin de croix (différents des autres un départ de sainte Marie pour traverser la ville en desendant sur le vieux port puis remonter de la citadelle et retour sur sainte Marie j'ai pus faire un clichés bien que le restaurant etait plein )
    je te souhaite de joyeuses paques...

  11. Loic " The man is a foreign origin .... " I think he is born in France , he is not a foreign origin. Like a lot of black people in France. Would you write the same thing about Sarkozy ( hungary), poniatowsky ( Poland) , Devedjian ( Armeny) etc.. they all are french politicians.
    Eric it is a very nice shot.
    and my greetings to everybody

  12. Saw on the news last night that there were big processions at Sacre Coeur and along the Champs Elysées.

    To Michael - this procession is indeed re-enacted in many places in the USA. It happened every year in the city I am from in Connecticut.

  13. We used to have the tradition here in Québec, but there was a radical secularisation of the society in the 1960s and religious practice fell off sharply, as did the birthrate, and in the past couple of decades, the marriage rate.

    As in Paris, indeed most of the faithful who take part in the march are of "foreign origin", whether Haitian, Latin American, Southern European, or now, many recent Polish immigrants (entirely possible that the white man in the photo is also of "foreign origin" - I know quite a few Poles in Paris - the ones I know are not religious but they have relatives who are fervent Catholics.)

    Actually, one often reads of Sarkozy being of Hungarian origin.

    Lady, on se rappellera que Jésus était bien basané! Here too, many priest are African now.

    It is a moving photo as one really gets a sense of the man's faith and identification with the sufferings of Christ.

    Whatever your beliefs, have a lovely Paschal holiday - Happy Easter, Passover or simply warming and greening of the Earth (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least). Happy vintage to those down South!

  14. Bonjour à tous,

    J'ignorais moi aussi que certains chemins de croix pouvaient se dérouler hors de l'église à Paris.

    Effectivement, dans ma prime jeunesse on les voyait plutôt dans l'église elle-même.

    Un nouvel aspect de Paris méconnu...



  15. Beautiful photo Eric. On they have a great essay "Easter celebrated around the world" some of the photos are quite beautiful and some are very surprising.

  16. Great photo...and yest we do that here in the Philippines too =)

  17. This is a great photo. I have never seen this before. Some people in the United States may do it but I have never seen it here in Oregon.


    The tradition is strong in Philadelphia where there is a very large Catholic population.


  19. Just reading the New york Times.There is an excellent photo on the front page of Christain worshippers carrying a large wooden cross into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in their Good friday ritual.

    Ujima in Philadelphia

  20. "J’ai remarqué que le croyant dans la photo est d’origine étrangère. C’est le cas en France où la plupart des croyants de nos jours ne sont plus des Français ?"

    Loic: Il est peut-être Français depuis plusieurs générations.

  21. There was such a procession of hundreds over the Brooklyn bridge to Ground Zero today. Other holidays or feast days for saints there are street fairs and processions in certain neighborhoods, particularly in Brooklyn.

  22. Thank you so much for this photo. It is really beautiful.

  23. Joyeaux Paques!
    Yes, this was the best photo - but it's a good thing you explained it was a cross, because when I first saw it I thought he was just frustrated and banging his head on the board because it was the wrong size or something...
    There are the stations of the cross at most Catholic churches, either inside them or outside in a garden...One I recall was on a hill and so steep I could hardly climb it.

  24. I live in Oregon also - Salem. I haven't heard of doing this outside much in Oregon (rains all the time, especially in Spring), but both in Episcopal (Anglican) and Catholic Churches on every Friday of Lent and Wednesday of Holy Week, Stations of the Cross are done inside churches. The churches have 14 pictures of some sort depicting the stations. I wrote about it in my blog recently...

  25. Oh, sure. It's called the daily commute.