The Secret Dinner Party of Holy Thursday
The Secret Dinner
The church celebrates the prayer and rites of Thursday of the Mysteries, which are also called “Washing Thursday”, “Drunken Thursday” and Holy Thursday.
It celebrates it with piety and reverence, worship and repentance, meditates with sadness and sorrow on the sufferings of the Lord Christ, and considers it a day that embodies the essence and heart of the last week of Lent. After Thursday of the Mysteries, Good Friday and Saturday of Light, and then the glorious Feast of Resurrection, where the incarnate Lord conquered death and broke its thorn.
He rose from the grave and triumphed over evil and forgave us with His crucifixion and pain of the original sin, as He taught us the meanings of love, forgiveness, tolerance, and self-giving for the sake of others. “There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life as a ransom for his friends.”
Thursday of Secrets or the so-called Night of the Secret Supper
The name “Thursday of Secrets” or “Holy Thursday” symbolizes the sacraments of the Eucharist and the priesthood that Christ laid the foundations of faith during his last Easter Supper on earth. Inside the attic, Jesus sat around the table with his disciples and performed his last Divine Liturgy before his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven.
On that day Jesus turned the bread of the table into his body, and the wine into his blood, and said: “Take, eat of it, all of you. This is my body, which is given for you and for many, for the remission of sins.” many for the forgiveness of sins.”
During this Holy Paschal Supper, Jesus consecrated and confirmed his disciples as priests of the new salvific covenant and established the priestly ministry and mission by saying to his disciples: “Do this in remembrance of me.” In order to teach His disciples and all mankind the requirements and rules of love and humility, and the principles of giving, sacrifice, and boundless service to others.
He rose and washed the disciples’ feet Himself before purifying, washing, and purifying their souls from evil, guilt, and sins through His blood that would be shed on the cross for forgiveness and entry into the new salvific covenant.
The spiritual memory of the night of Thursday of the Mysteries, its rites, and its entire prayer are derived from the incident of the Last Supper, which Christ celebrated with his disciples in the attic before his traitorous disciple Judas handed him over to the Jews to be crucified in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.
That holy meeting according to the four Gospels, Luke 1:22-23, John 1:13-30, Matthew 14/26-30, Mark 12/14-26
Rituals, Customs, and Traditions Practiced on Holy Thursday
1 On this day, His Beatitude the Patriarch consecrates and blesses the chrism, baptismal oil, and anointing oil, to be distributed to all dioceses and churches.
2 The priest washed, during the Divine Liturgy, the feet of twelve people, symbolizing the number of Christ’s apostles.
3 Believers visit seven churches as a symbol of absolute commitment to the seven sacraments of the Church: the sacrament of the priesthood, the sacrament of the Eucharist, the sacrament of blessed oil, the sacrament of baptism, the sacrament of confirmation, the sacrament of anointing, and the sacrament of service.
Some religious scholars associate this tradition with the seven places that the Virgin went to when she learned that her son Jesus had been arrested: the seat of the Council of Priests, the place of arrest, the seat of the ruler’s Pilate and Herod (twice for each seat), and Golgotha.
4 This tradition is also ascribed to the visits of the first Christian pilgrims, which began in Rome and required pilgrimages to seven churches seeking repentance and seeking atonement for sins and sins. The churches are St. John’s Church, St. Peter’s Church, St. Mary’s Church, St. Paul’s Church, and St. Lawrence’s Church. Church of the Holy Cross, Church of St. Sebastian.
5 The sacrifice is held inside the tabernacle on the altar after the liturgy ends, and the believers prostrate before it all night, recalling the struggle of the Lord Jesus in the olive grove, where the disciples left him alone and succumbed to sleep due to sadness, fatigue, and fear.
All kinds of decorations are raised from the churches, except for the altar on which the sacrifice is held, expressing great sadness. Some traditions also require that church bells stop ringing after the Eucharist has endured until Easter Sunday.
Thursday of Secrets or Secret Supper as stated in the Four Gospels
Gospel of Saint Luke 01/22-23
And the approach of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is called Passover. The chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for a way to kill Jesus because they were afraid of the people. So Satan entered Judas, nicknamed Iscariot, and he is one of the twelve disciples, so he went and negotiated with the chief priests and the leaders of the Temple Guard on how to deliver him to them. They were happy and agreed to give him some money. Hypothetically, he waited for the opportunity to deliver it to them in secret from the people.
And the day of unleavened bread came, in which the sheep were slaughtered for the Passover supper. Then Jesus sent Peter and John and said to them: Go, prepare the Passover supper for us to eat. They said to him: Where do you want us to prepare him? He answered them: When you enter the city, you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water.
Follow him to the house he enters, and says to the master of the house: The teacher says to you: Where is the room in which I will have the Passover supper with my disciples? He will show you at the top of the house a spacious furnished room, and there he will prepare it.
So they went and found as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover supper. And when the time came, Jesus sat down with the apostles to eat. He said to them: How I have longed to have this Passover supper with you before I suffer.
I tell you: I will not take it anymore until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And Jesus took a cup, gave thanks and said: Take this cup and divide it among you. I tell you: I will no longer drink the juice of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Likewise, also the cup after supper. And he said: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. But here is the hand of him who greets me at the table with me. The Son of Man will die as it is written to him, but woe to the one who betrays him! The disciples began to wonder which of them would do this.
And an argument ensued between them as to who would be the oldest of them, so Jesus said to them: The kings of nations rule over them, and those with authority in them want people to call them benefactors. As for you, this is not how you are, but let the elder among you be like the younger and the chief like the servant.
Who is greater: the one sitting at the table or the one serving? Is he sitting down to eat? I am among you as one who serves. And you steadfastly remained with me in my distress, and I give you a kingdom as my Father gave me, and you shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you shall sit on thrones to judge the twelve families of the children of Israel.”
Gospel of Saint John 1/13/30
Jesus knew, before the feast of Easter, that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, and he who loved his eunuchs who are in the world, he loved them with the utmost love.
And he sat down to supper with his disciples. And′ the devil was whispering to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. And Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands and that he had come from God, and to God, he would return.
So he arose from supper, took off his clothes, and took a towel and girded it, then poured water into a sink and began to wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. When he approached Simon Peter, Simon said to him: Lord, do you wash my feet? Jesus answered him: Now you do not understand what I am doing, but you will understand later.
Peter said to him: You will never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.
Simon Peter said to him: So, Lord, do not wash my feet alone, but my hands and my head with them. And Jesus said to him: He who washes is completely clean, and needs only to wash his feet. You are pure, but not all of you are pure.
Jesus said You are not all clean because He knew who would betray Him.
When he washed their feet, put on his clothes, and returned to the table, he said to them: Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me teacher and master, and you do well because that is how I am. And if I, master and teacher, have washed your feet, you must also wash one another’s feet.
And I gave you what you can imitate, so you do what I did for you. Truly, truly, I say to you: No servant was greater than his master, nor was a messenger greater than the one who sent him. And now you know this fact, congratulations to you if you act on it.
I do not say this to all of you, for I know whom I have chosen. But what is stated in the holy books must be fulfilled, which is: He who ate my bread rebelled against me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you: By those whom I sent, he accepted me.
He who accepted me before he who sent me. And at this saying, Jesus’ soul was troubled, and he said openly: Truly, truly, I say to you: One of you will betray me! The students looked at each other confused, not knowing who he meant by what he said. One of the disciples, whom Jesus loved, was sitting beside him.
So Simon Peter gestured to him and said to him: Ask him what he meant by saying. So the disciple leaned on Jesus’ chest and asked him: Who is he, Lord? And Jesus answered: He is the one I give him the morsel I dipped! Jesus dipped a morsel, lifted it, and handed Judas the son of Simon Iscariot. When he ate it, the devil entered it.
And Jesus said to him: Do what you are doing, and do not delay. None of those sitting at the table understood why he said this to him. Judas was the treasurer, and some of them thought that Jesus had commanded him to buy what they needed at the feast or to give something to the poor. Judas took the morsel and left at once. It was at night.
Gospel of Saint Matthew 14/26-30
At that time one of the twelve disciples, Judas, nicknamed Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said to them: What will you give me to deliver Jesus to you? They promised him thirty pieces of silver. From that hour, Judas waited for the opportunity to betray Jesus.
And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to him: Where would you like us to prepare the Passover supper for you?
He answered them: Go to so-and-so in the city and say to him: The teacher says: My hour has come, and I will eat the Passover supper in your house with my disciples. The disciples did as Jesus commanded them and prepared the Passover supper. Thursday of Secrets or the so-called Night of the Secret Supper
In the evening, Jesus sat down to eat with his twelve disciples. And while they were eating, Jesus said: Truly I say to you: One of you will betray me. The disciples were very sad, and began to ask him, one by one: Is it me, sir?
Whoever dips his bread in the plate with me is the one who will betray me. The son of man will die as it was mentioned in the book, but woe to the one who betrays the son of man! It was better for him not to be born. So Judas, who would betray him, asked him: Am I he, Master? And Jesus answered him: You said.
And while they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said: Take, eat, this is my body. A′nd he took a cup, gave thanks, handed it to them, and said: Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood, the blood of the covenant shed for many people. For forgiveness of sins. I say to you: I will not drink from this grape juice anymore until the day comes when I will drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father. Then they swam and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Gospel of St. Mark 12/14-26
And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the sheep were slaughtered for the Passover supper, his disciples asked him: Where would you like us to go to prepare the Passover supper for you to eat? And′ he sent two of his disciples and said to them:
Go into the city, and a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you, so follow him. And when he enters a house, he says to the master of the house: The teacher says: Where is my room in which I may eat the Passover supper with my disciples? He will show you at the top of the house a spacious, furnished, and equipped room, and prepare it for us there.
So the two disciples went and entered the city, and finding as he had said to them, he prepared the Passover supper. And when evening came, he came with his twelve disciples. And while they were sitting down to eat, Jesus said: Truly I say to you: One of you will betray me, and he will eat with me.
So the disciples were sad and began to ask him, one by one: Am I he? He said to them: He is one of the twelve, and he is the one who dips his hand into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will die as mentioned in the Holy Books, but woe to the one who betrays the Son of Man! It was better for him not to be born.
And while they were eating, he took bread, blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said: Take, this is my body. And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and handed it to them, and they all drank from it and said to them: This is my blood, the blood of the covenant shed for many people.
Truly, I say to you: I will not drink from the juice of the vine anymore until the day comes when I will drink it new in the kingdom of God. Then they swam and went out to the Mount of Olives.” Let us remember on the night of Thursday of the Mysteries that none of us can live pure with God without forgiveness that washes away our sins with the blood of Jesus, and without the new life that is given to us with his body and blood.
- Let us remember, on this night, before the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus, who continues His sufferings in the sufferings of the suffering.
- Let′ we remember all those who suffer in their bodies, souls, and souls, who are on constant watch with the suffering Christ for the sake of the Church.”
- Let us always remember that the elder among us is required to be our servant.
- Let us remember that we are the good yeast in the dough of this world. (Google Translate)
Written by: Elias Bejjani
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