(This is the altar in the Purgatory Chapel, and photos just don't do it justice. It's beautiful!)
The reason for the replications was because the founder of the monastery wished for people to be able to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but understood that it was impossible for many. Just as churches in Europe created Stations of the Cross during the Middle Ages for people who could not make a trip to the Holy Land, these friars created this beautiful church for those of us who wish to make a pilgrimage but cannot. If you are ever in the DC area, even if you aren't Catholic, make a point of visiting this beatiful monastery.
These two statues are to the left and right, respectively, of the crucifixion scene below. Each statue was created from a single block of wood.
More pictures to come, including some of the John Paul II Cultural Center, as well as various Smithsonian museums.