Maundy Thursday

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Maundy Thursday
Simon ushakov last supper 1685.jpg
The Mystical Supper, Icon by Simon Ushakov (1685).
Also calledHoly Thursday
Covenant Thursday
Great and Holy Thursday
Thursday of Mysteries
Sheer Thursday
Observed byChristians
TypeChristian / Civic
Significancecommemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ
ObservancesMass; distribution of Maundy money
DateEaster - 3 days
2013 date

March 28 (Western)

May 2 (Eastern)
2014 date

April 17 (Western)

April 17 (Eastern)
2015 date

April 2 (Western)

April 9 (Eastern)
Frequencyannual
Related toHoly Week
 
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Maundy Thursday
Simon ushakov last supper 1685.jpg
The Mystical Supper, Icon by Simon Ushakov (1685).
Also calledHoly Thursday
Covenant Thursday
Great and Holy Thursday
Thursday of Mysteries
Sheer Thursday
Observed byChristians
TypeChristian / Civic
Significancecommemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ
ObservancesMass; distribution of Maundy money
DateEaster - 3 days
2013 date

March 28 (Western)

May 2 (Eastern)
2014 date

April 17 (Western)

April 17 (Eastern)
2015 date

April 2 (Western)

April 9 (Eastern)
Frequencyannual
Related toHoly Week

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels.[1] It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.[2]

The date is always between 19 March and 22 April inclusive, but these dates fall on different days depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is used liturgically. Eastern churches generally use the Julian calendar, and so celebrate this feast throughout the 21st century between 1 April and 5 May in the more commonly used Gregorian calendar. The liturgy held on the evening of Maundy Thursday initiates the Easter Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; this period includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and ends on the evening of Easter.[1][3] The Mass or service of worship is normally celebrated in the evening, when Friday begins according to Jewish tradition, as the Last Supper was held on feast of Passover.[4]

Names in English[edit]

Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper, painting of Altar of Siena Cathedral in 14th century

Use of the names "Maundy Thursday", "Holy Thursday", and the others is not evenly distributed. What is considered the normal name for the day varies according to geographical area and religious allegiance. Thus, although in England "Maundy Thursday" is the normal term, the term is rarely used in Ireland or Scotland in religious contexts. People may use one term in a religious context and another in the context of the civil calendar of the country in which they live.

The Church of England uses the name "Thursday before Easter" in the Book of Common Prayer as well as "Holy Thursday" as alternative names. Outside of the official texts of the liturgy, however, Anglicans sometimes apply the name "Holy Thursday" to the day before Good Friday.[5]

The Roman Catholic Church, even in countries where "Maundy Thursday" is the name in civil legislation, uses the name "Holy Thursday" in its official English-language liturgical books.[6]

The United Methodist Church uses the name "Holy Thursday" in its UM Book of Worship,[7] but in other official sources it uses both "Maundy Thursday"[8][9] and "Holy Thursday".[10][11]

Both names are used by other Christian denominations as well, including the Lutheran Church[12][13][14] or portions of the Reformed Church.[15][16][17] The Presbyterian Church uses the term "Maundy Thursday" to refer to the holy day in its official sources.[17][18]

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the name for the holy day is, in the Byzantine Rite, "Great and Holy Thursday"[19] or "Holy Thursday",[20][21] and in Western Rite Orthodoxy "Maundy Thursday",[22][23] "Holy Thursday"[24] or both.[25] The Coptic Orthodox Church uses both the terms "Maundy Thursday" and "Covenant Thursday" for the holy day.[26]

In the Maronite Church[27] and the Syriac Orthodox Church,[28] the name is "Thursday of Mysteries".

"Maundy Thursday" is the official name in the civil legislation of England[29] and the Philippines.[30]

The day has also been known in English as Shere Thursday (also spelled Sheer Thursday), from the word shere (meaning "clean" or "bright").[31] This name might refer to the act of cleaning, or to the fact that churches would switch liturgical colors from the dark tones of Lent, or because it was customary to shear the beard on that day,[32] or for a combination of reasons.[33] This name is a cognate to the word still used throughout Scandinavia, such as Swedish "Skärtorsdag", Danish "Skærtorsdag", Norwegian "Skjærtorsdag", Faroese "Skírhósdagur" and "Skírisdagur" and Icelandic "Skírdagur". Skär in Swedish is also an archaic word for wash.

Derivation of the name "Maundy"[edit]

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. The phrase is used as the antiphon sung in the Roman Rite during the "Mandatum" ceremony of the washing of the feet, which may be held during Mass or at another time as a separate event, during which a priest or bishop (representing Christ) ceremonially washes the feet of others, typically 12 persons chosen as a cross-section of the community.

Others theorize that the English name "Maundy Thursday" arose from "maundsor baskets" or "maundy purses" of alms which the king of England distributed to certain poor at Whitehall before attending Mass on that day. Thus, "maund" is connected to the Latin mendicare, and French mendier, to beg.[34][35] A source from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod likewise states that, if the name was derived from the Latin mandatum, we would call the day Mandy Thursday, or Mandate Thursday, or even Mandatum Thursday; and that the term "Maundy" comes in fact from the Latin mendicare, Old French mendier, and English maund, which as a verb means to beg and as a noun refers to a small basket held out by maunders as they maunded.[36]

Services[edit]

Part of a series on
Death and Resurrection of Jesus
Crucifixion of Jesus
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Western Christianity[edit]

"The Last Supper" - museum copy of Master Paul's sculpture

Holy Thursday is notable for being the day on which the Chrism Mass is celebrated in each diocese. Usually held in the diocese's cathedral, in this Mass the holy oils are blessed by the bishop, consisting of the chrism, oil of the sick, and oil of catechumens. The oil of the catechumens and chrism are to be used on the coming Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil, for the baptism and confirmation of those entering the church.

The Washing of the Feet is a traditional component of the celebration in many Christian churches, including the Armenian,[37] Ethiopian, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptist groups, Churches of the Brethren,[38] Mennonites, and Roman Catholic, and is becoming increasingly popular as a part of the Maundy Thursday liturgy in the Anglican/Episcopal,[39] Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches,[9] as well as in other Protestant denominations. In the Catholic Church and in some Anglican churches, the Mass of the Lord's Supper begins as usual, but the Gloria is accompanied by the ringing of bells, which are then silent until the Easter Vigil.[40] After the homily the washing of feet may be performed. The Blessed Sacrament remains exposed, at least in the Catholic Mass, until the service concludes with a procession taking it to the place of reposition. The altar is later stripped bare, as are all other altars in the church except the Altar of Repose. In pre-1970 editions, the Roman Missal envisages this being done ceremonially, to the accompaniment of Psalm 21/22,[41][42] a practice which continues in many Anglican churches. In other Christian denominations, such as the Lutheran Church or Methodist Church, the stripping of the altar and other items on the chancel also occurs, as a preparation for the somber Good Friday service.[43]

Eastern Christianity[edit]

Orthodox icon of Christ washing the feet of the Apostles (16th century, Pskov school of iconography).

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lenten character of the services is for the most part set aside. The liturgical colours are changed from the somber Lenten hues to more festive colours, white being common. On this day alone during Holy Week, the fast is relaxed to permit consumption of wine and oil.

The primary service of this day is Vespers combined with the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great at which is read the first Passion Gospel (John 13:31-18:1), known as the "Gospel of the Testament", and many of the normal hymns of the Divine Liturgy are substituted with the following troparion:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither will I give Thee a kiss like Judas. But like the Thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

When necessary to replenish the sacrament for communing the sick at a time not following a divine liturgy, an additional Lamb (Host) is consecrated on this day, intincted, covered, and left to dry until Holy Saturday when it is divided, completely dried with a candle flame, and the pieces placed in the artophorion.

In cathedrals and monasteries the ceremony of the Washing of Feet is normally performed.

When there is need to consecrate more chrism, that is performed by patriarchs and other the heads of the various autocephalous churches.

In the evening, after the Liturgy, all of the hangings and vestments are changed to black or some other Lenten colour, to signify the beginning of the Passion.

Beginning on Holy and Great Thursday, the memorial service for the dead is forbidden until after Thomas Sunday.

Local customs[edit]

Customs and names from around the world[edit]

Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian (Armenian Apostolic Church) washing the feet of children during the Washing of Feet ceremony.

Public holiday[edit]

Maundy Thursday is a public holiday in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Spain,[48] Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela and The Philippines.[49]

Seven Churches Visitation[edit]

Christus, by the Lutheran Lucas Cranach the Elder. This woodcut of John 13:14-17 is from Passionary of the Christ and Antichrist.

The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is an ancient practice, probably originating in Rome.

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gail Ramshaw (2004). Three Day Feast: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Augsburg Books. Retrieved 2009-04-11. "In the liturgies of the Three Days, the service for Maundy Thursday includes both, telling the story of Jesus' last supper and enacting the footwashing." 
  2. ^ Leonard Stuart (1909). New century reference library of the world's most important knowledge: complete, thorough, practical, Volume 3. Syndicate Pub. Co. Retrieved 2009-04-11. "Holy Week, or Passion Week, the week which immediately precedes Easter, and is devoted especially to commemorate the passion of our Lord. The Days more especially solemnized during it are Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday." 
  3. ^ Peter C. Bower. The Companion to the Book of Common Worship. Geneva Press. Retrieved 2009-04-11. "All of Holy Week points toward the passion-the death and resurrection of Christ. The week's three final days (from sunset Thursday through sunset on Easter) complete the commemoration of Christ's passion. These three days are called the Triduum." 
  4. ^ Gwyneth Windsor, John Hughes (Nov 21, 1990). Worship and Festivals. Heinemann. Retrieved 2009-04-11. "On the Thursday, which is known as Maundy Thursday, Christians remember the Last Supper which Jesus had with his disciples. It was the Jewish Feast of the Passover, and the meal which they had together was the traditional Seder meal, eaten that evening by the Jews everywhere." 
  5. ^ "Anglicans Prepare for Easter". Anglican Communion official website. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  6. ^ "General Instruction of the Roman Missal, with adaptations for England and Wales". Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  7. ^ "United Methodist Book of Worship: Scripture Readings listed according to the Books of the Bible". General Board of Discipleship, The United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  8. ^ "Holy Week Service for Midweek, Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  9. ^ a b "Maundy Thursday". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  10. ^ "Preaching Helps for Holy Thursday, Year B (April 17, 2003)". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Worship Planning Helps for Holy Thursday (April 8, 2004)". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  12. ^ "What is Holy Thursday?". University Lutheran Chapel, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  13. ^ "Maundy Thursday". Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Detroit. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Counting. A little history of how '40 Days of Lent' came to be". The Lutheran, the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  15. ^ "Maundy Thursday". Reformed Church in America (RCA). Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  16. ^ "Calendar 2009 Year of the Reformer John Calvin". The Hungarian Reformed Church in the US and Diaspora. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  17. ^ a b "Calendar". Suydam Street Reformed Church. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  18. ^ The Presbyterian Handbook. Geneva Press. 2006. p. 75. Retrieved 1 April 2012. "These days (approximately three 24-hour periods) begin on Maundy Thursday evening and conclude on Easter evening. On Maundy Thursday we hear the story of Jesus' last meal with his disciples and his act of service and love in washing their feet." 
  19. ^ "Great and Holy Thursday". Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  20. ^ "Great Lent: Theology, Homilies, Services, Resources". St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney (Dallas area) Texas. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  21. ^ "The Historical Development of Holy Week Services In the Orthodox/Byzantine Rite". Antiochan Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  22. ^ "Saint Mark's Church: An Antiochian Orthodox Parish in the Western Rite Tradition". Western Orthodox. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  23. ^ "Oratory of Our Lady of Glastonbury: Western Rite Orthodox Outreach to Southern Ontario". Oratory of Our Lady of Glastonbury. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  24. ^ "Orthodox Liturgical Index". The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  25. ^ "Lent". Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  26. ^ "G Maundy (Covenant) Thursday". Coptic Orthodox Church. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  27. ^ Liturgical Notes: Thursday of Mysteries[dead link]
  28. ^ Thomas Joseph. "Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church". Sor.cua.edu. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  29. ^ "The Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions and Directions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2001". United Kingdom Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  30. ^ "Republic Act No. 9492". Philippine Government. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  31. ^ Charles Dickens. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Sine nomine. Retrieved 22 March 2012. "Maundy Thursday is the day immediately preceding Good Friday. It was also known as Shere Thursday, probably from a custom of the priests, who on this day are said to have shaved themselves and trimmed their hair, which had been allowed to grown during the preceding six weeks. An old chronicle says "people would this day shere theyr hedes, and clypp theyr berdes, and so make them honest against Easter Day."" 
  32. ^ "New Catholic Dictionary". Catholic-forum.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  33. ^ "The old English name for Maundy Thursday was 'Sheer Thursday', when the penitents obtained absolution, trimmed their hair and beards, and washed in preparation for Easter" (Hungarian Saints).
  34. ^ Philip Schaff: History of the Christian Church, Volume III
  35. ^ Why is the Thursday preceding Easter known both as Holy Thursday and Maundy Thursday?
  36. ^ Shepherd of the Springs, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
  37. ^ "Maundy Thursday". The Armenian Church. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  38. ^ "Churches of the Brethren". Brethren.org. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  39. ^ Episcopal Book of Occasional Services, p. 93 (1994)
  40. ^ "Maundy Thursday". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  41. ^ Missale Romanum 1962, p. 161
  42. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Stripping of an Altar". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  43. ^ Pfatteicher, Philip H; Messerli, Carlos R (1979). Maundy Thursday: Stripping the Altar. Lutheran Church. ISBN 978-0-8066-1676-6. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  44. ^ The Royal Mint
  45. ^ The word is of medieval origin and may refer to the possible use of green vestments on this day in some regions, or to a custom of eating green salad or pancakes (cf. Deutsches Wörterbuch by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm). The name could also derive from Old High German grīnan ("mourn" or "wail", cf. Engl. groan), referring to the death of Jesus or the penitents' return to the eucharist on this day in older times (K. Küppers, "Gründonnerstag", In Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. IV,, DTV, Munich, 2003).
  46. ^ As for German Gründonnerstag, "green" may refer to a liturgical colour, or to the consumption of green vegetables on this day (cf. the Jewish Pesach dinner). Velikonoční týden - pašijový, svatý, velký
  47. ^ Festivals of Western Europe, by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, 1958
  48. ^ except in the regions of Catalonia and Valencia
  49. ^ "Planning your trip_www.visitdenmark.com". VisitDenmark. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  50. ^ Only Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church are in situ after the 1945 Bombing of Manila during Second World War.

External links[edit]