The nearest bus stop is “Baltupiai”. You can come by bus named 1G, 26, 35, 36 or 66.
Vilnius Calvary Way of the Cross is a sacred architectural ensemble, recognized as one of the largest European Ways of the Cross. It consists of the Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross and 35 Stations of the Cross. The Church is the primary location for Pentecost celebrations in the Archdiocese of Vilnius.
The Calvary Way of the Cross was constructed and dedicated in 1669 as a sign of gratitude to God for the victory against the tsarist Russian army. Dominicans, with the support of noblemen and prominent religious figures, built the Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross and 20 new chapels here in 1772. Up until the 20th century this architectural ensemble didn’t change much, though some damage was done by the army of Napoleon. Vilnius Calvary suffered the most destruction during the Soviet era, when one night in 1962 most of the Stations of the Cross were blown up. Their reconstruction began when Lithuania regained its independence in 1990.
The overall length of the Way of the Cross and the distances between Stations correspond to the distances and the topography of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. For that reason, Vilnius Calvary is called “The City of Jerusalem”. The Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross is located at both the geographical and ideological center of Vilnius Calvary. The Church, built on a high hill in Calvary, topographically corresponds to the Golgotha Hill. The main altar, also known as the Crucified Jesus altar, is the most important Station of the Cross, dedicated to the remembrance of our Savior’s death. The sculpture of the Crucified Jesus is considered miraculous by the faithful. At the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows a relic of the Holy Cross is displayed under glass. Church walls and vaulted ceilings are decorated with impressive frescoes, dating to the late 18th century.
Descriptions, photos and details
I. The Last Supper
“When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.” (Mt 26:20). During the supper “he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist” (Jn 13:5). “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:15). “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, l for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:26-28).
II. On the Way to the Mount of Olives
“Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed. But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” Then Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly” (Mk 14:26-31). “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress” (Mt 26:36-37).
“When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test” (Lk 22:40-46).
IV. Jesus Arrested
“While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.” Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him” (Mt 26:47-50).
V. Crossing the Kidron Valley
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus” (Jn 18:10). “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way?” But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled” (Mt 26:52-54, 56).
From the Olive Garden Jesus was taken across the Kedron River to Anna.
VI. Disciples Flee Jesus before the Gate of the Town
The Savior complains in the lips of David: “More numerous than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause Those who would destroy me are mighty, my enemies without reason.” “I have become an outcast to my kindred, a stranger to my mother’s children.” “Those who sit in the gate gossip about me; drunkards make me the butt of songs” (Ps 69:5,9,13).
VII. At the First Gate of Zion
Ungrateful Jerusalem welcomes Lord Jesus not as a Savior but as an enemy of the nation. “My people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I ransomed you”.
Ask yourself would it be easier in the Court of God if you haven’t known the Passion of Jesus than now that you know the kindness of Jesus heart and you continue insulting it.
VIII. Jesus Taken to Annas
“So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first” (Jn 18:12). “The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest” (Jn 18:19-24).
IX. At the High Priest Caiaphas
“Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome. The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward who stated, “This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and within three days rebuild it.’” The high priest rose and addressed him, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” (Mt 26:57-62).
X. Jesus Imprisoned in the Basement of Caiaphas’ Palace
“But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “You have said so. But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion?” They said in reply, “He deserves to die!” Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him, saying, “Prophecy for us, Messiah: who is it that struck you?” (Mt 26:63-68).
XI. The Second Time at Caiaphas
“When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth” (Lk 22:66-71).
XII. At the Second Gate of Zion
“Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate” (Lk 23:1). “Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, “It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood” (Mt 27:3-6).
XIII. Jesus before Pilate for the First Time
“Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover” (Jn 18:28). “So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:33-38). “But they were adamant and said, “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here. On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean” (Lk 23:5-6).
XIV. The First Time at the Iron Gate
“And upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. [Even] Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly” (Lk 23:7-12).
XV. At Herod’s
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Ps 22:2). “But I am a worm, not a man, scorned by men, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me: “He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him; if he loves him, let him rescue him” (Ps 22:7-9). “He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil 2:8-9).
XVI. Jesus Ridiculed by Herod for the Second Time at the Iron Gate
“Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him” (Lk 23:13-15).
XVII. Jesus Taken to Pilate through the Second Town Gate
“Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, [Jesus] Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over” (Mt 27:15-18). “The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!” (Mt 27:21-23).
XVIII. At the Second Town Gate Jesus Found Worthier of Death than the Rebel Barabbas
“Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar. Like water my life drains away; all my bones are disjointed. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me. As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death” (Ps 22:13-16). “Deliver me, LORD, from the wicked; preserve me from the violent” (Ps 140:2).
XIX. Jesus Flogged at the Gate of the Town Hall
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall” (Ps 27:1-2). “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?” (Ps 42:2-3).
XX. At the Fourth Gate of the Old Town
Jesus complains in the lips of David: “Insult has broken my heart, and I despair; I looked for compassion, but there was none, for comforters, but found none. Instead they gave me poison for my food; and for my thirst they gave me vinegar” (Ps 69:21-22). “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).
XXI. Jesus Sentenced to be Crucified
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly” (Jn 19:1-3). “So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him” (Jn 19:5-6).
XXII. Jesus Takes His Cross
“And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him” (Mk 15:20). “And carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha” (Jn 19:17). “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). How do I accept and carry the cross which was placed to me by the providence of God?
XXIII. Jesus Falls for the First Time
Lord Jesus carries his cross to the place of death. Jesus can barely walk with a heavy cross after being tortured, whipped the whole night and crowned with rosehips; the blood colors the road; after losing all of His energy He falls down under the heavy burden. “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.” (Mk 14:38-39).
We also fall down under the burden of the sin due to our weakness; and standing up is sometimes harder that carrying the cross.
XXIV. Jesus Meets His Mother
Maria had courage to come to the way where her son was taken to the Calvary Hill. She broke through the crowd and soldiers and met her son who was carrying the cross. Her sensitive soul was pierced with unbearable pain. At first, after finding Jesus in a Temple after a long search, she asked: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Lk 2:48). This time Maria didn’t ask anything. Deeply sympathizing with her Son’s pain, she kept silent and watched him pursuing his life mission. Heartbroken Mother didn’t intervene her son to go the Way of Cross to the real death, because that was the will of God.
XXV. Simon from Cyrene Forced to Help Christ with the Cross
“They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross” (Mk 15:21).
Tired Jesus accepted the help from Simon. Even though there were many who could have helped, only the Simon were the chosen one for this mercy – to help Jesus to carry his cross. For the help Lord rewarded Simon: both of his sons became Bishops and martyrs. Ask yourself: don’t you refuse the help to Salvation from the others and do you help the other to carry their cross?
XXVII. Jesus Falls for the Second time
The second fall of Jesus under the cross represents the victory over the obstacles. Christ’s walk was exhausting, His strength vanished and the end of the road was still far away. The midday heat was unbearable. Lord Jesus fell under the cross for the second time. But immediately He stood up and continued walking. In all the areas of life there are obstacles which need to be overcome because “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mk 13:13), – says Lord.
When I fall again, I won’t be upset: instead of giving up I will focus on the prayer.
XXVIII. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
“A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” (LK 23:27-31). A good thing – show the compassion to the one who suffers and even better – to understand that the sin is the cause of all the suffering.
XXIX. Jesus Falls for the Third Time
Going up to the Calvary Hill and seeing His place of death Jesus loses His strength and falls under the cross for the third time. According to the Church, this third fall symbolizes the fall of people into the grave sins. Painful is the human instability: despite the real repentance and strong decision to do better, sometimes we fall to the same sin… Let’s not forget that God Mercy is bigger than our sin.
XXX. Jesus Stripped of His Garments
“And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull), they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink” (Mt 27:33-34). The soldiers took of clothes from Jesus and shared them into for parts, every soldier got one part and for the tunic – it wasn’t sewed up but knitted in one-piece – they lotted. According to the old story, this tunic was knitted by Mother of Jesus. According to the Church, the tunic represents the unity of the Church.
XXXI. Jesus Nailed to the Cross
“It was three o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.” (Mk 15:25-28). “The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself” (Lk 23:35-37).
XXXII. Jesus Dies on the Cross
Jesus hung on the cross for three hours. I stumble at this place and seems that I hear the voice of Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). Ask yourself, do you have a good word for those from whom you suffer? “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23: 43). Do I try to comfort the other when his life is ending? “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:27). All my life I want to be faithful son (daughter) of Maria. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34). In the deathbed I desire You, Lord. “I thirst” (Jn 19:28). Only my sincere love can put down the thirst of Jesus’ heart. “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). Let the sunlight of joy reach my soul today and the day of my death. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46). While dying, in my hands I will be holding Your cross, and in my lips, I will whisper these Your last words.
XXXIII. Jesus Body is Taken down of the Cross
Jesus died. “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Mt 27:51-52). “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (Jn 19:33-34). “They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom” (Jn 19:40).
XXXIV. Jesus Laid in the Sepulcher
“Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by” (Jn 19:41-42). “Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb” (Mt 27:59-61).