BEGINS WITH GOOD FRIDAY.::: Is a day that Christian all over the world set aside for the commemoration of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary. In Holy week is also observed as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday till Sunday morning and is also known as the passover day in the Jewish and also known as Holy Friday.
On a day like this, So many Christians like Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Luthran, Anglican, Methodist, Oriental and other Christians Community observe the beauty of Holinnes by fasting, going to church and also teaching about the historical life of Jesus.
The date of Good Friday varies from one year to the next on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Eastern and Western Christianity disagree over the computation of the date of Easter and therefore of Good Friday. Good Friday is a widely instituted legal holiday around the world, including in most Western countries and 12 U.S. states. Some countries, such as Germany, have laws prohibiting certain acts, such as dancing and horse racing, that are seen as profaning the solemn nature of the day.
According to the Gospel of (Mathew 26:14-16) The Buble talked about the story of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver) and told them that any one he kisses is the one to be arrest. Jesus was arrested and taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. Conflicting testimony against Jesus was brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answered nothing. Finally the high priest adjured Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?” Jesus testified ambiguously, “You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.” The high priest condemned Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurred with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57–66). Peter, waiting in the courtyard, also denied Jesus three times to bystanders while the interrogations were proceeding just as Jesus had predicted.
In the morning, the whole assembly brought Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1–2). Pilate authorized the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own law and execute sentencing; however, the Jewish leaders replied that they were not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31).
Pilate questioned Jesus and told the assembly that there was no basis for sentencing. Upon learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate referred the case to the ruler of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questioned Jesus but received no answer; Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate told the assembly that neither he nor Herod found Jesus to be guilty; Pilate resolved to have Jesus whipped and released (Luke 23:3–16). Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asked for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asked what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demanded, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:6–14). Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day, and she forewarned Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate had Jesus flogged and then brought him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests informed Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death “because he claimed to be God’s son.” This possibility filled Pilate with fear, and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know from where he came (John 19:1–9).
Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declared Jesus innocent and washed his own hands in water to show he had no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot (Matthew 27:24–26) and ultimately to keep his job. The sentence written was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus carried his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the “place of the Skull”, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and in Latin “Calvary”. There he was crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17–22).
Jesus agonized on the cross for six hours. During his last three hours on the cross, from noon to 3 pm, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus spoke from the cross, quoting the messianic Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
With a loud cry, Jesus gave up his spirit. There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declared, “Truly this was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:45–54)
Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Jesus, who had not consented to his condemnation, went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50–52). Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus brought about a hundred-pound weight mixture of spices and helped wrap the body of Jesus (John 19:39–40). Pilate asked confirmation from the centurion of whether Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44). A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out (John 19:34), and the centurion informed Pilate that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:45).
Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and placed it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (Matthew 27:59–60) in a garden near the site of the crucifixion. Nicodemus (John 3:1) also brought 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and placed them in the linen with the body, in keeping with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39–40). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). Then they returned home and rested, because Shabbat had begun at sunset (Luke 23:54–56). Matt. 28:1 “After the Shabbat, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb”. i.e. “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,…”. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said….”. (Matt. 28:6)
GOOD FRIDAY OR HOLY WEEK
Good Friday is a very important day for all Christians. On Good Friday, Christians remember that Jesus died for everyone. He was crucified by the Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem although he had not done anything wrong. When a person was crucified, they were tied and nailed by the wrists and feet to a large wooden cross or scaffold and left to die. This is why a cross if often used as a symbol of the Christian faith. You can read more about How and why Jesus was crucified in the Story Section.
The first of these twelve readings John 13:31–18:1 is the longest Gospel reading of the liturgical year, and is a concatenation from all four Gospels. Just before the sixth Gospel reading, which recounts Jesus being nailed to the cross, a large cross is carried out of the sanctuary by the priest, accompanied by incense and candles, and is placed in the center of the nave (where the congregation gathers)
The ‘Good’ in Good Friday comes from old English when Good meant Holy. So you could call Good Friday, ‘Holy Friday’.
There are parades all over the world to celebrate and remember Good Friday. In Spain and some other countries, people who are very sorry for their wrong doings (called ‘Penitents’) walk through the streets wearing long robes with hoods and carrying a big cross of wood.
In some countries, including the U.K., sometimes a single person or group of church members carry a large wooden cross, around the streets near the church, before the Good Friday service. They may be also followed by the rest of the people going to church. Sometimes they will stop and have a reading from the Bible or sing a song before going to the service. In some Central and South American countries there will be a procession of statues to the church before the service. These are often statues of Jesus, Mary and other saints. In Greece, people go to the church in a procession as if they were going to a funeral. Some Orthodox and Catholic churches have models of tombs as the centre piece of the service to help people remember Jesus died.
The readings for the good Friday are:
- John 13:31–18:1 – Christ’s last sermon, Jesus prays for the apostles.
- John 18:1–28 – The agony in the garden, the mockery and denial of Christ.
- Matthew 26:57–75 – The mockery of Christ, Peter denies Christ.
- John 18:28–19:16 – Pilate questions Jesus; Jesus is condemned; Jesus is mocked by the Romans.
- Matthew 27:3–32 – Judas commits suicide; Jesus is condemned; Jesus mocked by the Romans; Simon of Cyrene compelled to carry the cross.
- Mark 15:16–32 – Jesus dies.
- Matthew 27:33–54 – Jesus dies.
- Luke 23:32–49 – Jesus dies.
- John 19:25–37 – Jesus dies.
- Mark 15:43–47 – Joseph of Arimathea buries Christ.
- John 19:38–42 – Joseph of Arimathea buries Christ.
- Matthew 27:62–66-The Jews set a guard.
The crucified Christ, just before the Deposition from the Cross and the placing of the Epitaphios in the Sepulcher.
In the afternoon, around 3 pm, all gather for the Vespers of the Taking-Down from the Cross, commemorating the Deposition from the Cross. The Gospel reading is a concatenation taken from all four of the Gospels. During the service, the body of Christ (the soma) is removed from the cross, as the words in the Gospel reading mention Joseph of Arimathea, wrapped in a linen shroud, and taken to the altar in the sanctuary.
The epitaphios (“winding sheet”), depicting the preparation of the body of Jesus for burial
Near the end of the service an epitaphios or “winding sheet” (a cloth embroidered with the image of Christ prepared for burial) is carried in procession to a low table in the nave which represents the Tomb of Christ; it is often decorated with an abundance of flowers. The epitaphios itself represents the body of Jesus wrapped in a burial shroud, and is a roughly full-size cloth icon of the body of Christ. Then the priest may deliver a homily and everyone comes forward to venerate the epitaphios. In the Slavic practice, at the end of Vespers, Compline is immediately served, featuring a special Canon of the Crucifixion of our Lord and the Lamentation of the Most Holy Theotokos by Symeon the Logothete.
In the Roman Catholic Church
Day of Fasting
Crucifix prepared for veneration
The Catholic Church regards Good Friday and Holy Saturday as the Paschal fast, in accord with Article 110 of Sacrosanctum Concilium. In the Latin Church, a fast day is understood as having only one full meal and two collations (a smaller repast, the two of which together do not equal the one full meal) – although this may be observed less stringently on Holy Saturday than on Good Friday.
Services on the day
The Roman Rite has no celebration of Mass between the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and the Easter Vigil unless a special exemption is granted for rare solemn or grave occasions by the Vatican or the local bishop. The only sacraments celebrated during this time are Baptism (for those in danger of death), Penance, and Anointing of the Sick. While there is no celebration of the Eucharist, it is distributed to the faithful only in the Service of the Passion of the Lord, but can also be taken at any hour to the sick who are unable to attend this service. After the Lord’s Supper any candlesticks and altar cloths, cross or crosses are removed leaving it bare so that they may be returned in-ceremony on Easter Sunday which memorialises the day of Christ’s resurrection. It is also customary to empty the holy water fonts in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. Traditionally, no bells are rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.
The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o’clock; however, for pastoral reasons (especially in countries where Good Friday is not a public holiday), it is permissible to celebrate the liturgy earlier, even shortly after midday, or at a later hour up until 9pm.
The vestments used are red (more commonly) or black (more traditionally). Before 1970, vestments were black except for the Communion part of the rite when violet was used. Before the reforms of the Holy Week Liturgies in 1955, black was used throughout. Before the 1955 Holy Week Reforms, Holy Communion was not distributed to the faithful on Good Friday. If a bishop or abbot celebrates, he wears a plain mitre (mitra simplex).
Three Hours’ Agony
The Three Hours’ Devotion based on the Seven Last Words from the Cross begins at noon and ends at 3 pm, the time that the Christian tradition teaches that Jesus died on the cross.
Communion from the Blessed Sacrament on Good Friday (Our Lady of Lourdes, Philadelphia)
The Good Friday liturgy consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.
• The Liturgy of the Word consists of the clergy and assisting ministers entering in complete silence, without any singing. They then silently make a full prostration. This signifies the abasement (the fall) of (earthly) humans. It also symbolizes the grief and sorrow of the Church. Then follows the Collect prayer, and the reading or chanting of Isaiah 52:13–53:12, Hebrews 4:14–16, 5:7–9, and the Passion account from the Gospel of John, traditionally divided between three deacons, yet usually divided between the celebrant, one or two singers or readers, and the congregation which speaks the part of the “crowd”. In the older form of the Mass known as the Tridentine Mass the readings for Good Friday are taken from Exodus 12:1-11 and the Gospel according to St. John 18:1-40; 19:1-42.
• The Great Intercessions also known as orationes sollemnes immediately follows the Liturgy of the Word and consists of a series of prayers for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and laity of the Church, those preparing for baptism, the unity of Christians, the Jewish people, those who do not believe in Christ, those who do not believe in God, those in public office, and those in special need. After each prayer intention, the deacon calls the faithful to kneel for a short period of private prayer; the celebrant then sums up the prayer intention with a Collect-style prayer. As part of the pre-1955 Holy Week Liturgy, the kneeling was omitted only for the prayer for the Jews.
• The Adoration of the Cross has a crucifix, not necessarily the one that is normally on or near the altar at other times of the year, solemnly unveiled and displayed to the congregation, and then venerated by them, individually if possible and usually by kissing the wood of the cross, while hymns and the Improperia (“Reproaches”) with the Trisagion hymn are chanted.
• Holy Communion is done according to a rite based on that of the final part of Mass, beginning with the Our Father, but omitting the ceremony of “Breaking of the Bread” and its related chant, the “Agnus Dei”. The Eucharist, consecrated at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, is distributed at this service. Before the Holy Week reforms of Pope Pius XII in 1955, only the priest received Communion in the framework of what was called the “Mass of the Presanctified”, which included the usual Offertory prayers, with the placing of wine in the chalice, but which omitted the Canon of the Mass. The priest and people then depart in silence, and the altar cloth is removed, leaving the altar bare except for the crucifix and two or four candlesticks.
Stations of the Cross
The Way of the Cross, celebrated at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday Rome: canopy erected at the “Temple of Venus and Rome” during the “Way of the Cross” ceremony
In addition to the prescribed liturgical service, the Stations of the Cross are often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service may be held from midday to 3.00 pm, known as the Three Hours’ Agony. In countries such as Malta, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Spain, processions with statues representing the Passion of Christ are held.
In Rome, since the papacy of John Paul II, the heights of the Temple of Venus and Roma and their position opposite the main entrance to the Colosseum have been used to good effect as a public address platform. This may be seen in the photograph below where a red canopy has been erected to shelter the Pope as well as an illuminated cross, on the occasion of the Way of the Cross ceremony. The Pope, either personally or through a representative, leads the faithful through meditations on the stations of the cross while a cross is carried from there to the Colosseum.
In Polish churches, a tableau of Christ’s Tomb is unveiled in the sanctuary. Many of the faithful spend long hours into the night grieving at the Tomb, where it is customary to kiss the wounds on the Lord’s body. A life-size figure of Jesus lying in his tomb is widely visited by the faithful, especially on Holy Saturday. The tableaux may include flowers, candles, figures of angels standing watch, and the three crosses atop Mt Calvary, and much more. Each parish strives to come up with the most artistically and religiously evocative arrangement in which the Blessed Sacrament, draped in a filmy veil, is prominently displayed.
El Greco’s Jesus Carrying the Cross, 1580
The Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus suffered during his Passion on Good Friday. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition for a beneficiary, but aim to “repair the sins” against Jesus. Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) which also includes prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.
In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as “some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury” with respect to the sufferings of Jesus.
Pope John Paul II referred to Acts of Reparation as the “unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified”.
Novena to the Divine Mercy
The Novena to the Divine Mercy begins on that day and lasts until the Saturday before the Feast of Mercy. Both holidays are strictly connected, as the mercy of God flows from the Heart of Jesus that was pierced on the Cross.
Easter is the time of the Christian year when Christians remember the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus, who they believe was the son of God, died for everyone’s wrong-doings and then came back to life three days later to defeat death and evil: so if you believe in Him you will live forever in Heaven.
No one is 100% sure where we get the English word ‘Easter’ from! In pretty much every other European language, the word for the festival of Easter comes from a variation on the word ‘Passover’.
The word Easter mostly likely comes from the Anglo Saxon month ‘Eostremonath’ which was about the time of year we now call April, when the Christian festival was held. The month seems to be named after a German goddess ‘Eostre’ or ‘Ostara’. But the only reference to this name is from the early historian Bede in 725 AD. And we’re not 100% sure he was accurate! But having the festival named after the month it took place in seems to make sense.
(You might also see some sources saying that it’s named after an Akkadian goddess called ‘Ishtar’. But this has been widely proven to make no sense! Ishtar was a goddess in the very ancient religions of the middle east – about 5000 years ago. She stopped being worshipped at least 1500 years before Jesus was born. So apart from having a name which sounds a bit like Easter, she has nothing to do with the Jewish Passover festival or the Christian festival of Easter which came after it! Her name was first connected with Easter in 1853 when a church minister, who had some very strange views about lots of things, wrote a pamphlet which had no serious historical merit at all.)
The Passover festival dates from about 4,000 years ago when Jewish people remember that God saved them from slavery in Egypt. Jesus was a Jew and so celebrated the Passover. Passover takes place in the first month of the Jewish New Year (14-15 of the month of Nisan). The Jewish calendar follows the cycle of the moon, so the date changes a bit every year.
The first Jewish Christians added Easter celebrations to the Passover festival and because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, so Easter Day became the first Sunday after Passover.
Unlike Christmas, when Jesus’s birth is celebrated (although we don’t know what time of year Jesus was born!), Easter is celebrated around the same time of year that he was killed. This is because Jesus died at the time of the Jewish Passover festival.
Over the years, the Christian festival moved in date slightly from the Jewish Passover, so they don’t now have the same date, but sometimes they are very close! The Christian date for Easter also follows the moon, so it also changes every year. To make things even more complicated, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter, like Christmas, on a different day to Catholic and Western Christians!
For Christians, the full Easter period lasted for a long time. Easter officially starts with Lent on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Day. (Lent lasts for 40 days but you don’t count the Sundays!) Then 39 days after Easter Day, Christians celebrate Ascension Day, when they remember Jesus going back into Heaven and promising to come back to earth one day. Easter officially ends 49 days after Easter Day with the Christian Festival of Pentecost or Whitsun, when Christians remember that God sent his Holy Spirit to help Christians. So Easter is a very busy time for Christians!