Maundy Thursday



Maundy Thursday … The Tradition of Compassion.

Maundy Thursday, is the “Thursday” in Holy week the day that precedes Good Friday.

There is a debate about the derivation of the word "Maundy". Many claim it is from the Latin "mandamus" to command or order as this was the day on which Christ held the Last Supper with his twelve disciples during which he instructed us to love each other.                                                    

It also marks the birth of the Eucharist, which Jesus Christ commanded us to continue in his memory. The commandment to brotherly (and sisterly) love, was exemplified by Christ washing the feet of his disciples  after supper on that day  a tradition which continues  during the Maundy Service worship. Of course some substitution  such as washing of the hands is done in some churches.

Another school of scholars state the word "Maundy" comes in fact from the Latin mendicere, or Old French mendier, and English maund, which as a verb means to beg and as a noun refers to a small basket held out by maunders as they maunded.                                                                               

Before 1689 it was customary in England for the King or Queen to wash the feet of the poor in Westminster Abbey every Maundy Thursday. They also gave them gifts of food and clothing. In Queen Victoria's time men received clothing, shoes and stockings and women 35 shillings.

Today rather than wash feet or give clothing the Queen gives out specially made Maundy money in white and red leather purses. The white purse contains silver Maundy coins matching the Queen's age 90 pence while the red purse contains ordinary money.                                          

In 2016 this will be given to 90 male and 90 female pensioners, because she is 90 years old this year. The service takes place at a different cathedral or abbey each year and people are chosen to receive the money because of good work they have done in their community.

At St. Barts Maundy Thursday is marked by our traditional  potluck, an international buffet spontaneously created by the parishioners of St. Barts and the Prince of Peace Lutheran churches. The church  venue alternates each year.                                                                               

This is followed by worship which includes the Eucharist. Additional  prayers precede the stripping of the altar an observance simulating  the stripping of Christ  clothes before the crucifixion. The service ends in silence.