Holy week in Christendom is usually associated with solemn and spiritual activities depicting events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy week commences with Palm Sunday and ends on Good Friday. As Christians globally mark the Holy week, some clergymen and lay faithful spoke to Radio Nigeria on the relevance of Maundy Thursday to Orthodox Christians
As part of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday also known as Holy Thursday refers to the day Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples urging them to love and serve one another in humility. The event which is usually a solemn occasion is celebrated by Christians in Orthodox Churches.
As part of the activities to mark the day, a chrism Mass, Sacrament of Holy communion and renewal of priestly vows are held in Orthodox Congregations World Wide as well as vigil Mass to remember the agony Jesus suffered during the night of Passion at garden of Gethsemane.
Speaking on the relevance of Maundy Thursday, the Anglican Bishop of Ehamufu Diocese, Enugu State, the Right Reverend Daniel Olinya, described the event as a message that should motivate Christians and Leaders into expressing agape love and humility in the cause of rendering services to mankind.
“In John Chapter 13:34-35, He (Jesus) summerised the entire law into one and gave love as the identity of Christians. The second one is humility; Jesus humbled Himself to wash the feet of those who (are) supposed to wash His own. That is humility in service. We must serve people with humility no matter whom you are or who you are serving, he said.”
A Catholic Priest, Holy Ghost Cathedral Enugu, the Reverend Father Amobi Ogbu explained that Maundy Thursday Service is made up of two parts: Chrism Mass, presided over by the bishop where priests renew their priestly vow and the second is re-enactment of the last supper which takes place in various parishes.
“It is divided into two: the Chrism mass in the morning and the mass of the last supper in the evening. Chrism mass is where the Bishop presides over celebration.
“The second part of the celebration of Maundy we call it re-enactment, making real again, because we are reliving what Jesus did at the last supper. So on the table of the alter when Jesus say at the last supper take the bread it is my body, take the wine, it is my blood will happen equally on the altar again.”
Giving their impression about the day, some Christian faithful said that solemn activities and spiritual rites associated with it were significant as drew them closer to God.
“It helps renew my life, praying.”
“As youths we are expected to be holy, we are trying to emulate His (Jesus’) footsteps because He is the truth of life.”
The event will feature blessings of anointing oils and washing of feet of elected twelve members of a church by the priest.