The Way of the Cross
Besides the Three Marys beneath the cross, there were three men also: Longinus, Joseph of Arimathea, and John the Beloved (Lazarus raised). Perhaps there was also a child in the womb of Mary Magdalene. The other followers were terrified and did not have the strength to witness the death of the Son of God. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the other witnesses stayed together after the crucifixion and eventually ended up in Ephesus.
Mary created the devotional practice of The Way of the Cross to reverence the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Outside of her house in Ephesus, she created a religious practice of walking The Way through the stations of the cross that followed the path of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, the way of sorrow that Jesus tread to Calvary. In Ephesus, Mary called this devotional practice the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross which had twelve stations. Each station added another sorrow to the blood mysteries of the Stations of the Cross.
An important element of the devotional practices of Mary and her followers were the Stations of the Cross. Each station held a sacred relic that included the crown of thorns, Jesus’ clothes, blood from the scourging, the holy cross, Veronica’s veil, the nails of the cross, the holy lance of Longinus, the grail and vials that captured the blood, the sponges, the burial linen, and perhaps a reference to a child or children with Mary Magdalene.
Each station of the cross, that imitated the suffering of Jesus, was dedicated to an aspect of his suffering and the relic that was associated with that station.
Mary and her followers started a devotional Way that imitated the passion of Jesus Christ and replicated the ritual of the last super using Solomon’s Bowl as the chalice (blood of Christ) and the spearhead of Longinus to cut the bread (body of Christ) during the service. The spear, blood, and chalice became the symbols of the new Christian religion that celebrated the Blood Mysteries of Jesus Christ.
It is this way of suffering that became the example that the apostles and disciples of Jesus followed in their devotional life. Many followers were martyred with great suffering that they endured without regret. Some Christian saints were tortured repeatedly, and yet they would not die until they were beheaded like John the Baptist. It is said that Longinus was tortured in twelve ways and would not die. Finally, when the king beheaded Longinus, the blood that burst forth landed in the king’s eye and healed his blindness. This theme is common with the saints who converted to Christianity from being a soldier.
Longinus was the beginning of a long line of Soldiers of God who were depicted on a horse with a spear defeating a dragon. This is the archetype of the soldier of Christ taming the dragon within themselves and turning from war and death to The Way, which is won through love and patience. This theme continued until it became a true grail path from soldier to saint – from chivalrous knight to the courts of love.
The Way of Suffering was exemplified quite clearly in a Longinus-type Orthodox saint named Phanourios, who turned from war to love and was tortured in twelve different ways and yet would not die. Phanourios was also said to have traveled back to Eden, getting past the angel with the flaming sword, to pick an apple from the Tree of Life.
This deed symbolizes the ultimate goal of immortality which comes along with belief in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who conquered death. Phanourios, like Longinus, is an example of a seeker of The Way who spiritually develops through his belief in the Way of Christ, much like the grail knight who develops from dullness to blessedness. This is the common path of the Soldier of God who devotedly dedicates his (and, of course, her) life to being guardians and protectors of the blood mysteries of the grail stream.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was the keeper of the grail (Solomon’s Bowl), the spear, the blood of Jesus, and the other relics that were used in devotional rituals that imitated and relived The Way of Christ. Each relic was a tool of suffering that needed to be transformed into a sacred tool that concentrated the healing forces of Christ into the object. These physical items were a memory of the love of Christ and, therefore, transformed his suffering into the ultimate tool of healing. The blood relics of the divine Son of God possessed great power for good, even though it seems like they originally were used for evil. Without the divine sacrifice of Jesus, which was accomplished in total freedom as a human being, the earth would have slowly died due to entropy.
Jesus Christ’s passion and resurrection also gave new life to the blood of every human that will ever live on the earth. Christ’s blood turned our planet into a newly budding sun and the human heart that receives the overflowing blessings of Christ’s love and mercy will be enlivened and renewed by the forces of life burgeoning in the heart. Truly, the quest for the holy grail (The Way) is achieved through nourishment from the risen Christ – a never ending well-spring of grace, mercy and love.
Stages of the Grail Quest
We have found that there are soldiers of the grail, seekers of the grail, and the keepers of the grail (grail maidens, queens and kings) who work together to guard the mysteries of the blood relics of Jesus Christ. In the early days, the Christian community revolved around the Three Marys at Ephesus and the first official Christian church at Antioch, led by Peter and others. Antioch became the outer center of the faith while Ephesus became the spiritual heart of Christian practices.
For eleven years, the Three Marys and John the Beloved deepened the devotional practices of the stations of the cross and revered the blood relics entrusted to their loving care. When the Mother of Jesus was bodily assumed into heaven before the eyes of the seventy-two disciples, the time had come to disperse to the four corners of the world to spread the Gospel of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea, Longinus, Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleops, Mary Magdalene’s child Sarah, Maxium, St. James (brother of Jesus), and numerous others sailed to France and encountered many Eastern religious beliefs. Mary Magdalene and the others spread the Gospel and debated every belief until they convinced the pagans that Christianity was the true and proper Way to find eternal life. Many Christian churches were founded as Mary Magdalene, Sarah, and James traveled from Eastern France to Western Spain.
The path of their ministry created a pilgrim’s path of the blood relics from Vezaley to Compostela. Eventually, this pilgrim’s path became the Camino (way) de Santiago. Other pilgrim paths of the evangelist stretched all the way to Scotland, where some say the descendants of Mary Magdalene and Jesus (through Sarah) still live to this day.
Joseph and Longinus traveled by sea from France to England where Joseph had worked as the principle tin-trader for the Hebrews. Many years before, Joseph had brought Jesus to England on one of his merchant ships. Jesus was deeply impressed by Glastonbury Tor and built a simple altar of sticks there as an offering. Later, a small church was built around this altar and it became the first officially recognized church in Christendom. When Joseph returned to Glastonbury with Longinus, he established this first Christian church and subsequently became the leader of the grail knights of King Arthur’s round table.
This first church was recognized, with the beginning of the first church councils, as the primary seat of the establishment of Christianity. In this instance, Glastonbury was particularly important because it was partially built by the hand of Jesus of Nazareth himself. The children of Joseph and Longinus (some say children of Jesus) became prominent in English history concerning the knights of King Arthur’s round table. It is said that Joseph brought the Holy Grail (bowl and vials) while Longinus brought his spear to Glastonbury and they were key relics in establishing Christianity and grail legends in England.
Learn more about The Way and Stages of the Cross as Tyla and Douglas Gabriel give a free-rendering of this passage.