Holy or Maundy Thursday: Three Interesting Facts

Sandy Smith's picture

Tomorrow is Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, the first major observance in Holy Week, the most sacred week of the Christian calendar. The purpose of the Holy Thursday service is to commemorate the Last Supper, the Passover seder where Jesus both predicted his betrayal and instituted the cental Christian rite of Holy Eucharist, or Communion. Read on to learn some interesting facts about this most somber of Holy Week observances.

Origin of the term Maundy Thursday: In many Christian churches, especially those of the Anglican Communion, Holy Thursday is called “Maundy Thursday.” The word “Maundy” is an Anglicization of the Latin word “mandatum,” or “commandment,” which is also the source of the English word “maatndate.” The Latin word appears in an antiphon sung during the service: Mandatum novum do vobis – “I give to you a new commandment” in English. This phrase in term comes from Jesus’ instruction to his disciples as related in John 13:34:

And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

The reason footwashing is part of the service:
At the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to demonstrate his love for and subservience to them. Since that time, footwashing has been an integral part of the Maundy Thursday services in many Christian churches to remind congregants that Jesus commanded us to love and serve humanity. In the Church of England, the monarch ritually washed the feet of thepoor – which were thoroughly scrubbed beforehand – until the late 1680s.

Why some Christians hold a Passover seder on Maundy Thursday:
We must not forget that Jesus was a Jew, and thus celebrated Passover, the observance of the liberation of the Jews from Egypt and thebirth of Israel. The Communion bread and wine come from the unleavened bread and wine served as part of the Passover meal; Jesus invested these with sacred siginificance when he prounounced the bread and wine to be his body and blood, to be eaten and drunk in remembrance of him whenever Christians gather in His name. In recent years, a growing number of Christians, including some congregations, have opted to hold an actual Passover seder instead of or in addition to Communion to emphasize both the Jewish origins of the Eucharist and the common bonds that tie Jews and Christians.

Written by Sandy Smith
For HULIQ.com


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
With this digital age, it is a welcome experience to view such a definition of this important week in the life of a Christian. Thanks

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