Stations of the Cross Phyllis Symmonds

Stations of the Cross

Paintings by Phyllis Simmonds

Gifted to the Cathedral, December 2007, and dedicated in the Cathedral on 3rd February 2008.

The paintings are hung in the Cathedral during Lent each year.

A brochure detailing each station is available at the Cathedral

The Cathedral parish is grateful for the generous gift from Phyllis of these extraordinary works of art. 


Every Friday in Jerusalem, Franciscan monks take groups of pilgrims along the Via Dolorosa, the road Christ may have walked on his way to the cross. Stopping at each of fourteen locations that mark events in the final days of Christ’s life, the pilgrims recall the Passion story and offer prayers for the world.

Nine of the stations come from the Gospels. Five come from medieval European imagination: Jesus’ three falls, his meeting his mother, and Veronica wiping his face.

The first record of this pilgrim practice comes from a Spanish pilgrim in 381AD walking from the Mount of Olives to the site of Christ’s crucifixion and burial.

Today paintings or sculptures of the Stations of the Cross occur in many cathedrals and churches providing worshippers an opportunity for reflection and meditation. As the paintings in this cathedral are viewed, words and ideas for prayers have been suggested for the viewer. This follows a pattern of worship used by pilgrims in Jerusalem today.

Phyllis Simmonds

Born in Wairoa in 1932, Phyllis Simmonds began painting when Victoria University established an Extension Department in Napier under the stewardship of Norman Haigh.

In 1972 she moved from to Napier. “It was a big, big step when I consciously chose to be an artist. I painted from then on. It was my compulsion.” She began exhibiting widely and selling work at significant galleries in Auckland and Wellington as well as Napier and Hastings. Her interest in stained glass also led to a commission at the entrance of Dalton House in Napier.

Between 1978 and 1980 she lived in the Solomon Islands and this and an extended trip overseas in 1985 have influenced her work.

The Stations of the Cross series of paintings, which are quite different from any of Phyllis’ other work, have been gifted to Waiapu Cathedral of St John the Evangelist by the artist. Reviewer Roy Dunningham commented at the time of her 2001 Retrospective Exhibition that “more than ever in her work she is asking questions of herself and the viewer”.