From early on in Christian history, pilgrims came to Jerusalem to walk, remember and pray the site where Jesus was known to been. They followed the footsteps walking the path to the cross. Later in history around the time of the Crusades, these pilgrimages to the Holy Land were no longer safe. Since the 1500’s people of faith created replicas of the way to the cross commemorating the route Jesus took in Jerusalem calling them “Stations of the Cross.”
The Labyrinth itself predates the “Stations of the Cross.: by several hundred years. The Chartres Labyrinth was first constructed in the stone floor of Chartres Cathedral in France in 1201 A.D. Medieval pilgrims flocked to Chartres and other Cathedrals as an alternative to visiting Jerusalem because of the danger. These Labyrinths became places where monks would visit on their hands and knees during Lent as a sign of penitence. The center of the labyrinth has been referred to as the New Jerusalem. Paintings and documents from the Middle Ages depict people dancing in the labyrinth in celebration of Easter. Today, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation and personal spiritual growth.