Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter and it commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels.

Maundy is the name of the Christian rite of footwashing, which traditionally occurs during Maundy Thursday church services.

Most scholars agree that the English word maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum (also the origin of the English word “mandate”), the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”)

This statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. The phrase is used as the antiphon sung in the Roman Rite during the Maundy (Ecclesiastical Latin: “Mandatum”) ceremony of the washing of the feet, which may be held during Mass or as a separate event, during which a priest or bishop (representing Christ) ceremonially washes the feet of others, typically 12 persons chosen as a cross-section of the community.

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