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Easter: Maundy Thursday

How do churches mark Maundy Thursday?


Many churches hold a special Maundy Thursday service. This is held to remember the Last Supper, where Jesus broke bread and drank wine with his disciples the night before his crucifixion.

Maundy Thursday Services are held in many Roman Catholic and in some Church of England churches. Three things happen:

  • The Ministers wash the feet of twelve members of the church, remembering that Jesus washed the feet of his twelve disciples. In some churches the Priests dress as Deacons, wearing their stoles diagonally. A Deacon's job is to serve the people.
  • Broken bread and wine are shared in Holy Communion to remember the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples
  • The service ends with a 'Prayer Watch' or 'Prayer Vigil' to remember that Jesus asked his disciples to pray with him after the Last Supper.

Did you know?

In England, it is traditional for the King or Queen to give out Maundy money to some of their people, often to elderly people who are in need. This is a small bag of silver coins that have been specially made for the occasion.

The tradition of giving Maundy money began in 1662 when the reigning monarch stopped the practice of washing the feet of some of his people and decided to give money to the poor instead.

Think... How would you feel if you had your feet washed by someone special? How would you feel if you had to wash someone else's feet? During the Last Supper, Peter would not allow Jesus to wash his feet - why do you think this was?