Holy Week

Holy Week

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Holy Week in Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 is the last week of Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

 and the week before Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

, Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

 (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, and lasts from Palm Sunday (or in the Eastern, Lazarus Saturday
Lazarus Saturday
Lazarus Saturday, in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, is the day before Palm Sunday, and is liturgically linked to it...

) until, but not including, Easter Sunday, as Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of The Great Fifty Days
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

. It commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels.

History


Holy Week in the Christian year is the week immediately before Easter. The earliest catholic allusion to the custom of marking this week as a whole with special observances is to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19), dating from the latter half of the 3rd century and 4th century. In this text, abstinence from flesh is commanded for all the days, while for the Friday and Sunday an absolute fast is commanded. Dionysius Alexandrinus in his canonical epistle (AD 260), refers to the 91 fasting days implying that the observance of them had already become an established usage in his time.

There is some doubt about the genuineness of an ordinance attributed to Constantine
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, in which abstinence from public business was enforced for the seven days immediately preceding Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 Sunday, and also for the seven which followed it; the Codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 Theodosianus
, however, is explicit in ordering that all actions at law should cease, and the doors of all courts of law be closed during those 15 days (1. ii. tit. viii.). Of the particular days of the "great week" the earliest to emerge into special prominence was naturally Good Friday. Next came the Sabbatum Magnum ("Great Sabbath", i.e., Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

 or Easter Eve) with its vigil, which in the early church was associated with an expectation that the second advent would occur on an Easter Sunday.

There are other Scriptures that refer to the traditions of the Early Church, most notably The Pilgrimage of Etheria (also known as The Pilgrimage of Egeria) which details the complete observance of Holy Week in the early church.

Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday)



Holy Week begins with Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord. Before 1955 this Sunday was known in the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 simply as Palm Sunday and the preceding Sunday as Passion Sunday. From 1955 to 1971 it was called Second Sunday in Passiontide or Palm Sunday.

To commemorate the entrance of the messiah into Jerusalem, to accomplish his paschal mystery
Paschal Mystery
The Paschal Mystery refers to the suffering , death, Resurrection, and Glorification of Jesus Christ. People of Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian faiths celebrate this mystery in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The center of the work the Father sent Jesus to do on earth is referred...

, it is customary to have before Mass a blessing of palm leaves
Arecaceae
Arecaceae or Palmae , are a family of flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates...

 (or other branches, for example olive branches). The blessing ceremony, preferably held outside the church includes the reading of a Gospel account of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey, reminiscent of a Davidic victory procession, and how people placed palms on the ground in front of him. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the entering of Jesus into Jerusalem, he begins his journey to the cross. This is followed by a procession or solemn entrance into the church, with the participants holding the blessed branches in their hands.

The Mass itself includes a reading of the Passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

, the narrative of Jesus' capture, sufferings and death, as recounted in one of the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

.

Before the reform of the rite by Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

, the blessing of the palms occurred inside the church within a service that followed the general outline of a Mass, with Collect, Epistle and Gospel, as far as the Sanctus. The palms were then blessed with five prayers, and a procession went out of the church and on its return included a ceremony for the reopening of the doors, which had meantime been shut. After this the normal Mass was celebrated.

Monday to Wednesday


The days between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday are known as Holy Monday
Holy Monday
Holy Monday or Great and Holy Monday is the Monday of Holy Week, which precedes the commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is the second day of Holy Week.-Events on the Real Day:...

, Holy Tuesday
Holy Tuesday
Holy Tuesday or Great and Holy Tuesday is the Tuesday of Holy Week, which precedes the commemoration of the death of Jesus.-Western Christianity:...

, and Holy Wednesday
Holy Wednesday
In Christianity, Holy Wednesday is the Wednesday of the Holy Week, the week before Easter...

. The Gospels of these days recount events not all of which occurred on the corresponding days between Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and his Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

. For instance, the Monday Gospel tells of the Anointing
Anointing of Jesus
The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by each of the Canonical gospels, in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the head or feet of Jesus....

 at Bethany , which occurred before the Palm Sunday event described in .

The Chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

 Mass, whose texts the Roman Missal
Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.-Situation before the Council of Trent:...

 now gives under Holy Thursday, may be brought forward to one of these days, to facilitate participation by as many as possible of the clergy of the diocese together with the bishop. This Mass was not included in editions of the Roman Missal before the time of Pope Pius XII. In this Mass the bishop blesses separate oils for the sick (used in Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

), for catechumen
Catechumen
In ecclesiology, a catechumen , “‘down’” + ἠχή , “‘sound’”) is one receiving instruction from a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism...

s (used in Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

) and chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

 (used in Baptism, but especially in Confirmation and Holy Orders
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

, as well as in rites such as the blessing of an altar and a church).

Tenebrae


When the principal services of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil were celebrated in the morning, the office of Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

 and Lauds
Lauds
Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours and is one of the two major hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it forms part of the Office of Matins...

 of each day was celebrated on the evening of the preceding day in the service known as Tenebrae.

Maundy (Holy) Thursday


On this day the private celebration of Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 is forbidden. Thus, apart from the Chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

 Mass for the blessing of the Holy Oils that the diocesan bishop may celebrate on the morning of Holy Thursday, but also on some other day close to Easter, the only Mass on this day is the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Mass of the Lord's Supper
The Mass of the Lord's Supper is the Catholic Mass celebrated on the evening of Holy Thursday. It inaugurates the Easter Triduum, and commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, more explicitly than other celebrations of the Mass....

, which inaugurates the period of three days, known as the Easter Triduum
Easter Triduum
Easter Triduum, Holy Triduum, or Paschal Triduum is the period of three days that begins with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on the evening of Maundy Thursday and ends with evening prayer on Easter Sunday...

, that includes Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 (seen as beginning with the service of the preceding evening), Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

 and Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 Sunday up to evening prayer
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 on that day.

The Mass of the Lord's Supper commemorates the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 of Jesus with his Twelve Apostles, "the institution of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, the institution of the priesthood
Priesthood (Catholic Church)
The ministerial orders of the Catholic Church include the orders of bishops, deacons and presbyters, which in Latin is sacerdos. The ordained priesthood and common priesthood are different in function and essence....

, and the commandment
The New Commandment
The New Commandment refers to the admonition given by Jesus to His Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper, as recorded in the Gospel of John :According to the Synoptic Gospels, a similar thought was expressed by Jesus two days previously when He spoke at the Temple in Jerusalem and quoted what is...

 of brotherly love that Jesus gave after washing the feet of his disciples."

All the bells of the church, including altar bells, may be rung during the Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

of the Mass (the Gloria is not traditionally sung during the entire Lenten season). The bells and the organ then fall silent until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil
Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in many Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into...

. In some countries, children are sometimes told: "The bells have flown to Rome."

The Roman Missal recommends that, if considered pastorally appropriate, the priest should, immediately after the homily, celebrate the rite of washing the feet of an unspecified number of men, customarily twelve, recalling the number of the Apostles.

A sufficient number of hosts are consecrated for use also in the Good Friday service, and at the conclusion the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to a place of reposition away from the main body of the church, which, if it involves an altar, is often called an "altar of repose
Altar of repose
The altar of repose is an altar in Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, and some Lutheran churches used as the place where the Communion hosts, consecrated in the Mass of the Lord's Supper, are reserved for Holy Communion on the following day, which is Good Friday, the day on which the death of Christ...

". However, the Mass does not officially end and technically extends over the next two days, not "ending" until the end of the Easter Vigil Mass.

The altars of the church (except the one used for altar of repose) are later stripped quite bare and, to the extent possible, crosses are removed from the church or veiled. (In the pre-Vatican II rite, crucifixes and statues are covered with violet covers during Passion time, but the crucifix covers can be white instead of violet on Holy Thursday.)

Good Friday


Roman Catholic Christians treat Good Friday as a fast day
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

, which is defined as only having one full meal with, if needed, two small snacks that together do not make a full meal.

The Catholic Good Friday in the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 afternoon service involves a series of readings and meditations, as well as the (sung) reading of the Passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

 account from the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 which is often read dramatically, with the priest, one or more readers, and the congregation all taking part. In the traditional Latin liturgy, the Passion is read by the priest facing the altar, with three deacons chanting in the sanctuary facing the people. Unlike Roman Catholic services on other days, the Good Friday service is not a Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, and in fact, celebration of Catholic Mass on Good Friday is forbidden. Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 consecrated the night before (Holy Thursday) may be distributed. The cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

 is presented, with the people given an opportunity to venerate
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 it. The services also include a long series of formal intercessions. The solemnity and somberness of the occasion has led to a phenomenon whereby in the course of history the liturgical provisions have a tendency to persist without substantial modification, even over the centuries. Some churches hold a three-hour mediation from midday, the Three Hours' Agony
Three Hours' Agony
The Three Hours' Agony or "Tre Ore" is a service held in some Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches on Good Friday from noon till 3 o'clock to commemorate the Passion of Christ....

. In some countries, such as Malta, Philippines, Italy and Spain, processions with statues representing the Passion of Christ are held.

  • The Church mourns for Christ's death, reveres the Cross, and marvels at his life for his obedience until death.
  • The only sacraments celebrated are Penance
    Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Church)
    In the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is the method by which individual men and women may be freed from sins committed after receiving the sacrament of Baptism...

     and Anointing of the Sick. While there is no celebration of the Eucharist, Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful only in the Service of the Passion of the Lord, but can be taken at any hour to the sick who are unable to attend this service.
  • The altar remains completely bare, without texts, candlesticks, or altar cloths.
  • It is customary to empty the holy water fonts in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil.
  • The Stations of the Cross
    Stations of the Cross
    Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St...

     are often prayed either in the church or outside.
  • The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o'clock, but for pastoral reasons a later hour may be chosen.
  • Since 1970, the colour of the vestments is red. Previously it was black. If a bishop celebrates, he wears a plain mitre.
  • 'The liturgy consists of three parts in the Roman Rite: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.
Liturgy of the Word
Prostration of the celebrant before the altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

.
The readings from Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 53 (about the Suffering Servant
Isaiah 53
Isaiah 53, taken from the Book of Isaiah, is the last of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant, and tells the story of the Man of Sorrows or "The Suffering Servant", which became a common theme in medieval and later Christian art. The passage is known for its interpretation by many Christians to...

) and the Epistle to the Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

 are read.
The Passion narrative of the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 is sung or read, often divided between more than one singer or reader.
General Intercessions: The congregation prays for the Church, the Pope, the Jews, non-Christians, unbelievers and others.
Veneration of the Cross: A crucifix
Crucifix
A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

 is solemnly unveiled before the congregation. The people venerate it on their knees. During this part, the "Reproaches" are often sung.
Communion service: Hosts consecrated at the Mass of the previous day are distributed to the people (traditionally only the celebrant communes not the congregation).
  • Even if music is used in the Liturgy, it is not used to open and close the Liturgy, nor is there a formal recessional (closing procession).
  • It was once customary in some countries, especially England, to place a veiled monstrance
    Monstrance
    A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is...

     with the Blessed Sacrament
    Blessed Sacrament
    The Blessed Sacrament, or the Body and Blood of Christ, is a devotional name used in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, to refer to the Host after it has been consecrated in the sacrament of the Eucharist...

     or a cross in a Holy Sepulchre
    Easter Sepulchre
    An Easter Sepulchre is a feature of English church architecture .-Description:The Easter Sepulchre is an arched recess generally in the north wall of the chancel, in which from Good Friday to Easter day were deposited the crucifix and sacred elements in commemoration of Christ's entombment and...

    ".
  • If crucifixes were covered starting with the next to last Sunday in Lent, they are unveiled without ceremony after the Good Friday service.

Holy Saturday



Because the Mass did not officially end on Holy Thursday, no Mass is celebrated until sundown.

In some Anglican churches, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, there is provision for a simple liturgy of the word with readings commemorating the burial of Christ.

The tabernacle is left empty and open. The lamp or candle usually situated next to the tabernacle denoting the Presence of Christ is put out, and the remaining Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

ic Hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday are kept elsewhere, usually the sacristy
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

, with a lamp or candle burning before it, so that, in cases of the danger of death, they may be given as viaticum
Viaticum
Viaticum is a term used especially in the Roman Catholic Church for the Eucharist administered, with or without anointing of the sick, to a person who is dying, and is thus a part of the last rites...

.

The celebration of Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 begins after sundown on what is therefore liturgically Easter Sunday, though still Saturday in the civil calendar. Easter Vigil is the longest and most solemn of the Catholic Church's Masses, lasting up to three or four hours.

Easter Vigil



In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Easter Vigil consists of four parts:
  1. The Service of Light
  2. The Liturgy of the Word
  3. The Liturgy of Baptism: The sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation for new members of the Church and the Renewal of Baptismal Promises by the entire congregation.
  4. Holy Eucharist


The Liturgy begins after sundown on Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

 as the crowd gathers inside the unlit church. In the darkness (often in a side chapel of the church building or, preferably, outside the church), a new fire is kindled and blessed by the priest. This new fire symbolizes the light of salvation and hope that God brought into the world through Christ's Resurrection, dispelling the darkness of sin and death. From this fire is lit the Paschal candle
Paschal candle
The Paschal candle is a large, white candle used at liturgy in the Western Rites of Christianity . A new Paschal candle is blessed and lit every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season which is during Easter and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and...

, symbolizing the Light of Christ. This Paschal candle will be used throughout the season of Easter, remaining in the sanctuary of the Church or near the lectern, and throughout the coming year at baptisms and funerals, reminding all that that Christ is "light and life."
All baptized Catholics present (i.e. those who have received the "Light of Christ") receive candles which are lit from the Paschal candle. As this symbolic "Light of Christ" spreads throughout those gathered, the darkness is decreased. A deacon, or the priest if there is no deacon, carries the Paschal Candle at the head of the entrance procession and, at three points, stops and chants the proclamation "Light of Christ" or "Christ our Light", to which the people respond "Thanks be to God." Once the procession concludes, the deacon or a cantor chants the Exultet
Exultet
The Exsultet or Easter Proclamation, in Latin Praeconium Paschale, is the hymn of praise sung, ideally by the deacon, before the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. In the absence of a deacon, it may be sung by a priest, or by a cantor...

 (also called the "Easter Proclamation"), and, the church remaining lit only by the people's candles and the Paschal candle, the people take their seats for the Liturgy of the Word.

The Liturgy of the Word consists of between two and seven readings from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. The account of the Exodus is given particular attention in the readings since it is considered to be the Old Testament antetype of Christian salvation. Each reading is followed by a psalm and a prayer relating what has been read in the Old Testament to the Mystery of Christ. After these readings conclude, a fanfare may sound on the organ and additional musical instruments and the Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

 is sung. During this outburst of musical jubilation the congregation's candles are extinguished, the church lights are turned on, and bells rung while the church's decorative funnings — altar frontals, the reredos, lectern hangings, processional banners, statues and paintings — which had been stripped or covered during Holy Week, are ceremonially replaced and unveiled and flowers are placed on altars and elsewhere. (In the pre-Vatican II rite, the statues, which have been covered during Passion Time, are unveiled at this time. In some places, the church removes the covering of statues and puts Easter flowers and decorations on the day of Holy Saturday before the Easter Vigil celebration. Also, in the current ritual the lights are turned on after the last proclamation of 'Christ our Light'.) Members of the congregation may have been encouraged to bring flowers which are also brought forward and placed about the sanctuary and side altars. A reading from the Epistle to the Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

 is proclaimed. The Alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

 is sung for the first time since the beginning of Lent (or, in the pre-Vatican II rite, since Septuagesima). The Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 of the Resurrection then follows, along with a homily.

After the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word, the water of the baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

 is consecrated and any catechumen
Catechumen
In ecclesiology, a catechumen , “‘down’” + ἠχή , “‘sound’”) is one receiving instruction from a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism...

s or candidates for full communion are initiated into the church, by baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 and/or confirmation, respectively. After the celebration of these sacraments of initiation, the congregation renews their baptismal vows and receive the sprinkling of baptismal water
Holy water
Holy water is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and some other churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects; or as a means of repelling evil.The use for baptism and...

. The general intercessions follow.

After the Liturgy of Baptism, the Liturgy of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 continues as usual. This is the first Mass of Easter Day. During the Eucharist, the newly baptised receive Holy Communion for the first time. According to the rubrics of the Missal
Missal
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.-History:Before the compilation of such books, several books were used when celebrating Mass...

, the Eucharist should finish before dawn.

Easter Sunday



Easter Sunday is the great feast day and culmination of not only Holy Week but the whole year. On this day, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. It is considered the most important day in the Church year, as it is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead. Easter Sunday is the main reason why Christians keep Sunday as the primary day of religious observance.

Colombia

  • Santa Cruz de Mompox
    Santa Cruz de Mompox
    Mompox or Mompós, officially Santa Cruz de Mompox, is a town and municipality in northern Colombia, in the Bolívar Department, which has preserved its colonial character. Located on an island in the Magdalena River where it joins the Cauca River, 249 kilometers from Cartagena. Mompox depends upon...

  • Popayán
    Popayán
    Popayán is the capital of the Colombian department of Cauca. It is located in southwestern Colombia between Colombia's Western Mountain Range and Central Mountain Range...

  • Tunja
    Tunja
    Tunja is a city and municipality located in the central part of Colombia, in the region of "Alto Chicomocha". As of the 2005 Census it had 152,419 inhabitants. It is the capital of the Department of Boyacá and part of the subregion of the Central Boyacá Province. It is approximately 145 km...

  • Pamplona
    Pamplona, Colombia
    Pamplona is a municipality and city in Norte de Santander, Colombia.-Colonization:Nueva Pamplona del Valle del Espíritu Santo, the name by which Don Pedro de Ursúa and Don Ortún Velasco de Velázquez paid tribute to the capital of the province of Navarre in Spain, was founded on 1 November 1549...


Italy


Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

 holds one of the most elaborate processions for Holy Week anywhere in the world, culminating in the Processione dei Misteri di Trapani or simply the Misteri di Trapani (in English the Procession of the Mysteries of Trapani or the Mysteries of Trapani), a day long passion procession featuring twenty floats of lifelike wood, canvas and glue sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion. The Misteri are amongst the oldest continuously running religious events in Europe, having been played every Good Friday since before the Easter of 1612, and running for at least 16 continuous hours, but occasionally well beyond the 24 hours, are the longest religious festival in Sicily and in Italy. Similar but smaller or shorter passion processions are hold in many other Sicilian cities, like Erice
Erice
Erice is a historic town and comune in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito to the north-east, and...

 and Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta
Caltanissetta is a city and comune located on the western interior of Sicily, capital of the province of Caltanissetta...

, but also in various Southern Italian cities, like Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 and Taranto
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

.

Malta



The Holy Week commemorations reach their paramount on Good Friday as the Catholic Church celebrates the passion of Jesus. Solemn celebrations take place in all churches together with processions in different villages around Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and Gozo
Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

. During the celebration, the narrative of the passion is read in some localities. The Cross follows a significant Way of Jesus. Good Friday processions take place in Birgu
Birgu
Birgu is an ancient city in Malta. It played a vital role in the Siege of Malta in 1565. Its population stood at 2,633 in December 2008.-History:...

, Bormla, Għaxaq, Luqa
Luqa
Ħal Luqa is a village located in the south east of Malta. It is an old town that has a dense population, typical of the Maltese Islands. The population of Ħal Luqa is 6,028 . There is a church in its main square dedicated to St. Andrew. The traditional feast of St...

, Mosta
Mosta
Mosta is a town situated in the middle of the island of Malta, to the north-west of Valletta. It had a population of 19,018 people in 2010. Mosta celebrates the feast of Saint Mary the Assumption on the 15th August. This is a very popular feast among the Mostin and tourists alike...

, Naxxar
Naxxar
Naxxar is a village in the central north of Malta, with a population of about 13,647 people . The Naxxar Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Victories. The feast is celebrated on September 8...

, Paola
Paola, Malta
Paola, , is a town in the Grand Harbour area of Malta, with a population of 8,856 people . It is named after its founder, the Grandmaster Antoine de Paule, but is commonly known as Raħal Ġdid, which means new town in Maltese.Paola is renowned for its shopping centres, Good Friday procession, its...

, Qormi
Qormi
Qormi is a city in Malta with a population of 18,550 , which makes it the second largest locality in Malta...

, Rabat
Rabat
Rabat , is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000...

, Senglea
Senglea
Senglea is a fortified city in the east of Malta, mainly in the Grand Harbour area. It is one of the Three Cities in the east of Malta, the other two being Cospicua and Vittoriosa. The city of Senglea is also called Civitas Invicta, because it managed to resist the Ottoman invasion at the Great...

, Valletta
Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's...

, Żebbuġ
Zebbug, Malta
Ħaż-Żebbuġ or Città Rohan is one of the oldest towns in Malta. Its population is 12,892 as of 2010 making it the 12th largest town in Malta.-History and origins:...

 and Żejtun
Zejtun
Żejtun is a medium sized town in the south of Malta. Żejtun holds the title of Città Beland, which was bestowed by Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, Grandmaster of Knights of Malta in 1797, Beland being his mother's surname....

. Processions in Gozo will be in Nadur
Nadur
-History:The word "Nadur" which in Maltese means "lookout", is derived from the Arabic word nadara. The town's motto means much the same. Ajwa....

, Victoria, Xagħra Xewkija, and Żebbuġ
Zebbug, Gozo
Iż-Żebbuġ is a small village on the island of Gozo in Malta located in the northwest of the island, close to the towns of Gharb and Marsalforn, on a hilltop overlooking the coast. As of November 2005, it had a population of 1770. The word Żebbuġ means "olives", a crop for which the village used to...

.

Philippines



In the predominantly Catholic Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are national holidays; work is suspended in government offices and private businesses. Most stores are closed and most people in the cities head to the provinces for the long Easter weekend.

Holy Week is commemorated with street processions, the Way of the Cross, and a Passion play
Passion play
A Passion play is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death. It is a traditional part of Lent in several Christian denominations, particularly in Catholic tradition....

 called the Sinakulo. The Church keeps the day solemn by not tolling the church bells, and no mass will be celebrated. In some communities (most famously in San Fernando, Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

), the processions include devotees who self-flagellate and sometimes even have themselves nailed to crosses as expressions of penance. After three o'clock in the afternoon of Good Friday (the time at which Jesus is traditionally believed to have died), noise is discouraged, some radio stations
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television stations
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 sign off (while others remain signed-on, broadcasting Religious Programming), businesses automatically close, and the faithful are urged to keep a solemn and prayerful disposition through to Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 Sunday.

At Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 on Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

, Catholics carry "palaspas" or palm leaves to be blessed by the priest. Many Filipinos bring home the palm leaves after the Mass and place these above their front doors or their windows, believing that doing so can ward off evil spirits. Holy Monday marks the beginning of the Pabasa (literally, reading) or Pasyon
Pasyon
The Pasyon is a narrative of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ woven with the standard elements of epic poetry and a colorful dramatic theme, with stanzas of five lines. Each line has eight syllables...

, the marathon chanting of the story of Jesus' life, passion, and death, which continues day and night, for as long as two straight days. A popular Holy Thursday tradition is the Bisita Iglesia (Church Visit), which involves visiting several Churches at which the faithful would pray the Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St...

. The last Mass before Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 is also celebrated on Holy Thursday, usually including a reenactment of the Washing of the Feet of the Apostles; this Mass is followed by the procession of the Blessed Sacrament
Blessed Sacrament
The Blessed Sacrament, or the Body and Blood of Christ, is a devotional name used in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, to refer to the Host after it has been consecrated in the sacrament of the Eucharist...

 before it is taken to the Altar of Repose
Altar of repose
The altar of repose is an altar in Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, and some Lutheran churches used as the place where the Communion hosts, consecrated in the Mass of the Lord's Supper, are reserved for Holy Communion on the following day, which is Good Friday, the day on which the death of Christ...

. Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 in the Philippines is commemorated with street processions, the Way of the Cross, the commemoration of Jesus' Seven last words (Siete Palabras) and a Passion play called the Sinakulo
Passion play
A Passion play is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death. It is a traditional part of Lent in several Christian denominations, particularly in Catholic tradition....

.

Easter morning is marked with joyous celebration, the first being the dawn Salubong, wherein large statues of Jesus and Mary are brought in procession together to meet, imagining the first reunion of Jesus and his mother Mary after Jesus' Resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

. This is followed by the joyous Easter Mass.

Spain


Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

, Málaga
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

, Zamora
Zamora, Spain
Zamora is a city in Castile and León, Spain, the capital of the province of Zamora. It lies on a rocky hill in the northwest, near the frontier with Portugal and crossed by the Duero river, which is some 50 km downstream as it reaches the Portuguese frontier...

 and León
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

 hold elaborate processions for Holy Week. A tradition that dates from medieval times
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 which has spread to other cities in Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

, the "Semana Santa en Sevilla" is notable for featuring the procession of "pasos", lifelike wood or plaster sculptures of individual scenes of the events that happened between Jesus' arrest and his burial, or images of the Virgin Mary showing grief for the torture and killing of her son. In Málaga the lifelike wooden or plaster sculptures are called "tronos" and they are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long purple robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black carrying candles for up to 11 hours. These pasos and tronos are physically carried on the necks of costaleros (literally "sack men", because of the costal, a sack-like cloth that they wear over their neck, to soften the burden) or "braceros" (this name is popular in Leon), and can weigh up to five metric tonnes. The pasos are set up and maintained by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods that are common to a specific area of the city, whose precede the paso dressed in Roman military costumes or penitential robes. Those members who wish to do so wear these penitential robes with conical hats, or capirotes, used to conceal the face of the wearer. These "Nazarenos" or "Papones" (this word it´s typical from Leon) carry processional candles, may walk the city streets barefoot, and may carry shackles and chains in their feet as penance. A brass band, marching band, a drum and bugle band, or in Málaga's case a military band (such as that of the Spanish Legion
Spanish Legion
The Spanish Legion , formerly Spanish Foreign Legion, is an elite unit of the Spanish Army and Spain's Rapid Reaction Force. Founded as the Tercio de Extranjeros , it was originally intended as a Spanish equivalent of the French Foreign Legion, but in practice it recruited almost exclusively...

 or other military units) may accompany the group, playing funeral marches, religious hymns or "marchas" written for the occasion.

Venezuela

  • Miranda
    Miranda (state)
    Miranda State is one of the 23 states into which Venezuela is divided. It is ranked second in population among Venezuelan states, after Zulia State. In June 30, 2010, it had approximately 2,987,968 residents. It also has the greatest Human Development Index in Venezuela, according to the...

    • Tacarigua de Mamporal
      Tacarigua de Mamporal
      Tacarigua de Mamporal is a town in the state of Miranda, Venezuela....

    • Guatire
      Guatire
      Guatire is a city in Miranda, Venezuela. In 2006, its population has been estimated at 200,417. Today, Guatire has virtually merged with its neighbor, Guarenas....

  • Caracas
    Caracas
    Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...


Eastern Orthodoxy


In the Orthodox Church, Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

 ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday, though the faithful will continue fasting until Pascha
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 (Easter). The day before Palm Sunday is called Lazarus Saturday
Lazarus Saturday
Lazarus Saturday, in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, is the day before Palm Sunday, and is liturgically linked to it...

 and commemorates the resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 of Lazarus
Lazarus of Bethany
Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, is the subject of a prominent miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus restores him to life four days after his death...

. On Lazarus Saturday wine and oil are allowed (and, in the Russian tradition, caviar
Caviar
Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be "fresh" or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value....

). Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

 is considered one of the Great Feasts of the Lord, and is celebrated with fish, wine and oil. Because it is a Great Feast of the Lord, the normal Resurrectional elements of the Sunday All Night Vigil are omitted; however, these resurrectional elements are inserted into the Lazarus Saturday service with its theme of anticipating the Resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

.

Holy Week is referred to as "Great and Holy Week". Orthros (Matins) services for each day are held on the preceding evening. Thus, the Matins service of Great Monday is sung on Palm Sunday evening, and so on. This permits more of the faithful to attend, and shows that during Holy Week the times are out of joint—Matins ends up being served in the evening, and in some places Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 is served in the morning.

Fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

 during Great and Holy Week is very strict. Dairy products and meat products are strictly forbidden. On most days, no alcoholic beverages are permitted and no oil is used in the cooking. Friday and Saturday are observed as strict fast days, meaning that nothing should be eaten on those days. However, fasting is always adjusted to the needs of the individual, and those who are very young, ill or elderly are not expected to fast as strictly. Those who are able to, may receive the blessing of their spiritual father to observe an even stricter fast, whereby they eat only two meals that week: one on Wednesday night and one after Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 on Thursday.

Great and Holy Monday through Wednesday



In Eastern Orthodoxy the day begins at sunset, so the first service of each day is Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

, at which stichera
Sticheron
A sticheron is a particular kind of hymn used in the Divine Liturgy, acolouthia or other services of the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite....

 are chanted commemorating the theme of the day.

The Orthros services of Palm Sunday through Tuesday evenings are often referred to as the "Bridegroom Prayer", because of their theme of Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, a theme expressed in the troparion
Troparion
A troparion in Byzantine music and in the religious music of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a short hymn of one stanza, or one of a series of stanzas. The word probably derives from a diminutive of the Greek tropos...

 that is solemnly chanted during them. On these days, an icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 of the "Bridegroom" is placed on an analogion
Analogion
An Analogion is a lectern or slanted stand on which icons or the Gospel Book are placed for veneration by the faithful in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 in the center of the temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

, portraying Jesus wearing the purple robe
Robe
A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment. A robe is distinguished from a cape or cloak by the fact that it usually has sleeves. The English word robe derives from Middle English robe , borrowed from Old French robe , itself taken from the Frankish word *rouba , and is related to the word rob...

 of mockery and crowned with a crown of thorns
Crown of Thorns
In Christianity, the Crown of Thorns, one of the instruments of the Passion, was woven of thorn branches and placed on Jesus Christ before his crucifixion...

 (see Instruments of the Passion). The same theme is repeated in the exapostilarion
Exapostilarion
The Exapostilarion is a hymn or group of hymns chanted in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches at the conclusion of the Canon near the end of Matins...

, a hymn which occurs near the end of the service. These services follow much the same pattern as services on weekdays of Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

. The services are so laid out that the entire Psalter
Psalter
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

 (with the exception of Kathisma
Kathisma
A Kathisma , literally, "seat", is a division of the Psalter, used by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics who follow the Byzantine Rite...

 XVII) is chanted on the first three days of Holy Week. The canon
Canon (hymnography)
A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

 that is chanted on these days is a "Triode", i.e., composed of three ode
Ode
Ode is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist...

s instead of the usual nine odes (the canon of Holy and Great Tuesday is a "Diode", having only two odes).

Towards the end of the Tuesday evening Bridegroom service (Orthros for Great and Holy Wednesday), the Hymn of Kassiani is sung. The hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

, (written in the 9th century by Kassiani the Nun) tells of the woman who washed Christ's feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Much of the hymn is written from the perspective of the sinful woman:
O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, sensing Your Divinity, takes upon herself the duty of a myrrh-bearer. With lamentations she brings you myrrh in anticipation of your entombment. "Woe to me!" she cries, "for me night has become a frenzy of licentiousness, a dark and moonless love of sin. Receive the fountain of my tears, O You who gathers into clouds the waters of the sea. Incline unto me, unto the sighings of my heart, O You who bowed the heavens by your ineffable condescension. I will wash your immaculate feet with kisses and dry them again with the tresses of my hair; those very feet at whose sound Eve hid herself from in fear when she heard You walking in Paradise in the twilight of the day. As for the multitude of my sins and the depths of Your judgments, who can search them out, O Savior of souls, my Savior? Do not disdain me Your handmaiden, O You who are boundless in mercy."


The Byzantine musical composition expresses the poetry so strongly that it leaves many people in a state of prayerful tears. The Hymn can last upwards of 25 minutes and is liturgically and musically a highpoint of the entire year.

On Great and Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated, at which the faithful may receive Holy Communion from the reserved
Reserved sacrament
During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second part of the Mass, the elements of bread and wine are considered, in some branches of Christian practice, to have been transubstantiated into the veritable Body and Blood of Jesus Christ...

 Holy Mysteries. This service combines Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 with a Communion Service. Each of these services has a reading from the Gospel which sets forth the theme for the day.

Great and Holy Thursday



In many churches, especially Greek Orthodox, a service of Anointing
Anointing
To anoint is to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God...

 (Holy Unction) is held on Wednesday evening, following the Presanctified Liturgy. This is in commemoration of the anointing of Jesus
Anointing of Jesus
The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by each of the Canonical gospels, in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the head or feet of Jesus....

, and a preparation of the faithful to enter with Christ into his death and Resurrection. Those who wish to receive Holy Communion on Great and Holy Thursday, are encouraged to receive the Holy Mystery of Unction.

Orthros of Great and Holy Thursday does not follow the format of Great Lent (with the singular exception of chanting Alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

 in place of God is the Lord), but is celebrated as outside Lent, having a complete canon. Also, beginning at this service there will be no more reading of the psalter for the rest of Holy Week, with the exception of kathisma
Kathisma
A Kathisma , literally, "seat", is a division of the Psalter, used by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics who follow the Byzantine Rite...

 XVII at Orthros of Great and Holy Saturday.

Divine Liturgy of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 is held on the morning of Great and Holy Thursday, combining Vespers with the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. There is a custom among some churches to place a simple white linnen cloth over the Holy Table (altar) for this Liturgy, reminiscent of the Last Supper. In cathedrals and monasteries
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 it is customary for the bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 or hegumen
Hegumen
Hegumen, hegumenos, igumen, or ihumen is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Catholic Churches, similar to the one of abbot. The head of a convent of nuns is called hegumenia or ihumenia . The term means "the one who is in charge", "the leader" in...

 (abbot) to celebrate the Washing of Feet. When it is necessary for an autocephalous church to consecrate more chrysm the primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

 of that church will consecrate it at this Liturgy.

Great and Holy Thursday is the only day during Holy Week when those observing the strict tradition will eat a cooked meal, though they will not do so until after the dismissal
Dismissal (liturgy)
The Dismissal is the final blessing said by a Christian priest or minister at the end of a religious service. In liturgical churches the dismissal will often take the form of ritualized words and gestures, such as raising the minister's hands over the congregation, or blessing with the sign of the...

 of the Liturgy. At this meal wine and oil are permitted, but the faithful still abstain from meat and dairy products.

Great and Holy Friday


Matins of Great and Holy Friday is celebrated on the evening of Holy Thursday. During this service, twelve Matins Gospel
Matins Gospel
The Matins Gospel is the solemn chanting of a lection from one of the Four Gospels during Matins in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic churches which follow the Byzantine Rite....

s are chanted, from which this service derives its name of "Matins of the Twelve Gospels". These Gospel lessons recount in chronological order the events from the Last Supper though the Crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

 and burial of Jesus. At one point, when we reach the first Gospel which speaks of the Crucifixion, there is a custom for the priest to bring out a large cross
Crucifix
A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

 with an icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 the crucified Christ attached to it, and places it in the center of the nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 for all the faithful to venerate. This cross will remain in the center of the church until the bringing out of the plashchanitza the next evening.

On Great and Holy Friday morning the Royal Hours
Royal Hours
The Royal Hours are a particularly solemn celebration of the Little Hours in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. The Royal Hours are celebrated only three times a year: on the Eve of the Nativity, the Eve of Theophany, and Great Friday....

 are served. These are a solemn celebration of the Little Hours
Little Hours
The Little Hours are the fixed daytime hours of prayer in the Divine Office of Christians, in both Western Christianity and the Eastern Orthodox Church. These Hours are called 'little' due to their shorter and simpler structure compared to the Night Hours...

 with added hymns and readings.
Vespers of Great and Holy Friday (Vespers of the Deposition from the Cross) is held in the morning or early afternoon of Great and Holy Friday. The figure of Christ is taken down from the Cross, and a richly-embroidered cloth icon called the Epitaphios (Church Slavonic: Plashchanitza) depicting Christ prepared for burial is laid in a "Tomb" decorated with flowers. At the end of the service all come forward to venerate the Epitaphios.

Compline
Compline
Compline is the final church service of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St...

 of Great and Holy Friday contains a Canon of Lamentations of the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 (Mother of God).

Great and Holy Saturday


Matins of Great and Holy Saturday is held on Friday evening. The service is known as the "Orthros of Lamentations at the Tomb
Epitaphios (liturgical)
The Epitaphios is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Great Friday and Great Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow...

", because the majority of the service is composed of the clergy and faithful gathered around the tomb, chanting the "Lamentations" interspersed between the verses of Kathisma XVII (Psalm 118
Psalm 119
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" . It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law...

. At a certain point the priest sprinkles the tomb with rose petals and rose water. Near the end of the service, the Epitaphios is carried in a candlelit procession around the outside of the church as the faithful sing the Trisagion
Trisagion
The Trisagion , sometimes called by its opening line Agios O Theos or by the Latin Tersanctus, is a standard hymn of the Divine Liturgy in most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches.In those Churches which use the Byzantine Rite, the Trisagion is chanted...

.

Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 joined to the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 is served on Great and Holy Saturday morning. This is the Proti Anastasi (First Resurrection) service, commemorating the Harrowing of Hell
Harrowing of Hell
The Harrowing of Hell is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed that states that Jesus Christ "descended into Hell"...

. Just before the reading of the Gospel, the hangings
Antependia
An antependium , more commonly known as a hanging, or, when speaking specifically of the hanging for the altar, an altar frontal , is a decorative piece of material that can adorn a Christian altar, lectern, pulpit, or table...

 and vestments and changed from dark lenten colors to white, and the entire mood of the service changes from mouring to joy. However, the faithful do not yet greet one another with the Paschal kiss, since the Resurrection has not yet been announced to the living.

If there are catechumens who are prepared for baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 they will usually be baptized and chrismated
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

 following the Liturgy of Great and Holy Saturday.

On Saturday night, the Paschal Vigil begins around 11:00 pm with the chanting of the Midnight Office
Midnight Office
The Midnight Office is one of the Canonical Hours that compose the cycle of daily worship in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The office originated as a purely monastic devotion inspired by Psalm 118:62, At midnight I arose to give thanks unto Thee for the judgments of Thy righteousness , and also by...

. Afterwards, all of the lighting in the church is extinguished and all remain in silence and darkness until the stroke of midnight. Then, the priest lights a single candle from the eternal flame
Eternal flame
An eternal flame is a flame or torch that burns day and night for an indefinite period. The flame that burned constantly at Delphi was an archaic feature, "alien to the ordinary Greek temple"....

 on the altar (which is never extinguished). The light is spread from person to person until everyone holds a lighted candle. Then a procession takes place circling around the outside of the church, recreating the journey of the Myrrh Bearers as they journeyed to the Tomb of Jesus
Tomb of Jesus
Several places have been proposed as the tomb of Jesus, the place where Jesus Christ was buried:*Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, accepted by many Christians and scholars as built on ground on which Jesus was crucified and buried...

 on the first Easter morning. The procession stops in front of the closed doors of the church. The opening of these doors symbolized the "rolling away of the stone" from the tomb by the angel, and all enter the church joyfully singing the Troparion
Troparion
A troparion in Byzantine music and in the religious music of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a short hymn of one stanza, or one of a series of stanzas. The word probably derives from a diminutive of the Greek tropos...

 of Pascha
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

. Paschal Orthros begins with an Ektenia
Ektenia
Ektenia , often called simply Litany, is a prayerful petition in the Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Catholic liturgy...

 (litany) and the chanting of the Paschal Canon
Canon (hymnography)
A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

. One of the highpoints is the sharing of the paschal kiss and the reading of the Hieratikon
Paschal Homily
The Paschal homily or sermon of St John Chrysostom is read aloud in every Orthodox church on the morning of Pascha , called "the Great and Holy Pascha of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ" in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches...

(Catechetical
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 Homily
Homily
A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word...

 of John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

) by the priest. The Divine Liturgy follows, and every Orthodox Christian is encouraged to confess
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 and receive Holy Communion on this holiest day of the year. A breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night's sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work...

 usually follows, sometimes lasting till dawn. Slavs bring Easter baskets filled with eggs, meat, butter, and cheese—foods from which the faithful have abstained during Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

 -- to be blessed by the priest which are then taken back home to be shared by family and friends with joy.

On the afternoon of Easter Day, a joyful service called "Agape
Agape feast
The term Agape or Love feast was used of certain religious meals among early Christians that seem originally to have been closely related to the Eucharist...

 Vespers" is celebrated During this service the Great Prokeimenon
Prokeimenon
In the liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church, a Prokeimenon is a psalm or canticle refrain sung responsorially at certain specified points of the Divine Liturgy or the Divine Office, usually to introduce a scripture reading...

 is chanted and a lesson from the Gospel is read in as many different languages as possible, accompanied by the joyful ringing of bells.

Coptic Orthodox Church


The Coptic Orthodox Christians fast the Lent for 55 days before Holy Week.

The Friday before Palm Sunday is called "The Concluding Friday of Great Lent". On this day a special service called "The Unction of the Sick" is conducted. It consists of seven prayers, at the end of which every member of the congregation is anointed with Holy Oil.

The following day - the last Saturday before Holy Week - is called "Lazarus' Saturday". On this day the Coptic Church commemorates Lazarus, the Brother of the LORD. Although this day doesn't have much significance in relation to the events of Holy week, it is placed there according to calender date.

Since the Liturgical day starts from the evening before an actual day, the prayers of Palm Sunday begin on the actual day of Lazarus' Saturday.

Throughout Holy Week, there is a paschal service that is conducted every evening, starting Sunday night (eve of Monday), and every morning, up until Easter. These paschal services take place in the middle of the church, and not on the altar due to the fact that Jesus suffered and was crucified on Golgotha, which is outside of Jerusalem. The altar is bared of all its coverings and relics.
Each day service is divided into 5 hours; The First Hour, The Third Hour, The Sixth Hour, The Ninth Hour, and The Eleventh Hour.
Likewise, each night service is also divided into the same five hours. However, Good Friday has an extra hour added to it, that of The Twelfth Hour.
During each hour, one prophecy is read at the beginning, a hymn is chanted twelve times, a psalm is sung in a sad tune, one passage from a gospel is read, and an exposition concludes the hour.
    • During the eve of Friday and Friday, four gospel passages are read, and more prophecies are read as well.

As of Tuesday night, the people do not greet each other. nor the priests, nor do they even kiss the icons of saints in the church, due to the fact that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

On Maundy Thursday also called Covenant Thursday, which is the Thursday of holy week, a liturgy is prayed and communion is given to symbolize the last supper of Jesus. Also, after the liturgy the priests wash the congregation's feet to resemble Jesus washing his disciple's feet.

Late Friday night until early Saturday morning is called Apocalypse Night. During this night, another liturgy is prayed and the entire book of the apocalypse is read, to symbolize the second coming.

This is all concluded with the Easter liturgy that occurs on Sunday night, followed by a gathering in the church where the goers can eat together and celebrate the joy of the resurrection, as well as to bring an end to their long fast.(Abstinence from meat, fish, and dairy products)

Eastern Catholic Churches


Holy Week for the Eastern Catholic Churches is the same as the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Holy Week in Protestant churches


Anglicans/Episcopalians, along with Protestants in the catholic tradition, such as Lutherans, observe Holy Week much as the Roman Catholic Church does. Of Protestant fellowships, perhaps the Holy Week services (Passion Week
Passion Week
Passion Week is a name for the week beginning on Passion Sunday, as the Fifth Sunday of Lent was once called in the Roman Rite.However, even before Pope John XXIII's Code of Rubrics changed the name of this Sunday from "Passion Sunday" to "First Sunday of the Passion" , the liturgical books gave...

) of the Moravian Church are the most extensive, as the Congregation follows the life of Christ through His final week in daily services dedicated to readings from a harmony of the Gospel stories, responding to the actions in hymns, prayers and litanies, beginning on the eve of Palm Sunday and culminating in the "Easter Morning" or Easter Sunrise service
Sunrise service
Sunrise service is a worship service on Easter. It takes the place of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran tradition of the Easter Vigil, and is practised mainly by Protestant churches...

 begun by the Moravians in 1732. Some Protestant churches make much of the foot washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

, for others it may be the only time in the year when Holy Communion is celebrated, other churches celebrate versions of the Jewish Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 at this time.

Other Protestant churches do not have the special ceremonies that distinguish Holy Week in Orthodox and Catholic churches. However, these Protestants conduct more informal celebrations of Holy Week, usually including sermons about the last week of Christ's life, and possibly some special services on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and or Easter Sunday.

External links