I interrupt my current programming to bring you this BREAKING NEWS: Station IV on the Via Dolorosa has moved. I repeat, [the entrance to] Station IV on the Via Dolorosa has moved.
Not much has yet been made of this unexplained move. But no doubt thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who have venerated Station IV in its old location are going to be greatly disappointed to find out that they apparently venerated in the wrong location.
It is unclear how this change will affect those pilgrims' reflections on their visit to the Holy Land, particularly their march through the stations of the cross, also known as the Via Dolorosa.
At this time, I have not been able to get an official explanation, but I was able to get a man named Kobi to share his thoughts on this new development: "You might expect these things to move every once in a while, but you never expect it to occur in your own lifetime," he said.
Here is a photo of the old site:
A couple of things to notice in the photo above: First, you can see that the iron gate is chained shut, giving a clear message: Don't come in. Second, you can see that the stone facing with the symbol of the station has been broken away from above the gateway. It has now been placed above the gate at the new entrance.
About 70 feet north of the old location is the new Station IV, sitting immediately next to Station III. Here's a photo with an explanatory overlay:
Notice that the entrance to the new Station IV is immediately to the right of the Station III. You can also see the stone symbol of Station IV above the gateway of the new location. And, it is important to notice that the stones in front of the gate are not yet laid in a semi-circle.
The reason that is important is that, in an effort to protect the pilgrim tourist from scams, the municipality puts special stonework in front of the official stations of the cross. I'm afraid that there may be much confusion in the near future, as long as the old Station IV entrance still has the semi-circle stonework while the new Station IV entrance does not.
For those who are less informed about the stations of the cross, Station III reportedly marks the location where Jesus fell under the weight of his cross the first time.
Station IV reportedly marks the location where Mary saw Jesus go by carrying his cross. Apparently this sight was so intense for her that her feet "melted" into the pavement, and this is commemorated in a mosaic in the church at Station IV, the Armenian Church of Our Lady of the Spasm. (Believe it or not, I didn't make up that name.)
By the way, neither of the events commemorated at Stations III and IV are recorded in the Bible.
And with that, I'll resume my regularly scheduled programming.