Welcome to Maundy Thursday

The traditional English name for the Thursday preceding Easter, derived from the first antiphon of the ceremony of the washing of the feet, ‘mandatum novum’ (Jn. 13:34). Its special celebration in commemoration of the Lord’s Institution of the Eucharist on that day is attested already for the 4th cent. by the Council of Hippo (393). Two other traditional liturgical features are the Blessing of the Holy Oils and the Reconciliation of Penitents, though the latter has long been obsolete. Two or even three Masses were celebrated on the day in the early centuries, but the Gregorian Sacramentary and the oldest Ordines Romani allow only one.

In the W. Church since 1955 the Maundy Thursday Mass has been celebrated in the evening. White vestments are worn and the altar is adorned in festive manner. Before the Mass the tabernacle is emptied (any Hosts required for sick communion are taken to some other place of reservation without ceremony) because all are expected to receive Holy Communion from Hosts consecrated at this Mass.

The Mass is marked by the solemn ringing at the Gloria in Excelsis of all bells, which are henceforth silent until the Paschal Vigil, and a special formula for the Consecration. A sermon is recommended and also the ceremony of foot-washing. After the Mass the Hosts needed for the Liturgy of Good Friday (which are consecrated at the Maundy Thursday Mass) are taken in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where a watch is kept for some hours. The altars are stripped and holy water stoups emptied.

In cathedral churches the Holy Oils are blessed during a special *Chrism Mass in the morning. The royal ‘Maundy Ceremony’ in England is an abbreviated survival of the Pedilavium.*

In sum- Popery.

*Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) p. 1065. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.