The Days of Great Week: Great Thursday

21 April 2022

‘On Holy and Great Thursday, the divine Fathers, who ordered all things aright, as successors to the divine Apostles and the sacred Gospels, have transmitted to us the tradition of celebrating four events: the washing of the feet, the mystical supper (that is, the bestowal of the dread mysteries), the prayer in Gethsemane and the betrayal itself’ [Synaxari, Great Thursday].

On Great Thursday, four events are highlighted which are drawn from the historical course of the Redeemer: the washing of the feet, the mystical supper, the preternatural prayer and the betrayal.

The first emphasizes humility. The second inaugurates the sacrament of the remembrance and reality of communion with the Savior, as well as the mystery of created matter being transformed into the body and blood of the Creator. The third event celebrated is Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (Matth. 36-46), which expresses his all-powerful guiding divine person, and also the anxious human person. The fourth is the withdrawal of Judas from the company of the apostolic ministers of the redemption of humankind and from the center of history.


Having taken the bread into his hands, the traitor covertly extends them and receives the price of him who fashioned humankind with his own hands. For Judas, the slave and deceiver, remained incorrigible.


Let us all approach the mystical board and, with pure souls, let us receive the bread, remaining at the Lord’s side so that we may see how he washes the feet of the disciples and wipes them with a towel. And let us do as we saw and submit to one another, washing each other’s feet, for so Christ commanded his disciples to do. But Judas the slave and deceiver, did not give heed.