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Holy Thursday

The morning liturgy service on Holy Thursday marks the institution of the New Covenant: Holy Communion, which Christ established at the Last Supper. During a Passover meal, Christ broke and distributed unleavened bread and shared the wine with His apostles, identifying these as elements of His Body and Blood. Through this sacrament, mankind participates in the Kingdom of God. Another episode at the Last Supper is recalled during the evening service on Holy Thursday. “The Washing of the Feet” ceremony commemorates how Christ washed the feet of His apostles, setting an example of humility and love. The priest, in turn, washes the feet of twelve church members, usually young men.Holy Thursday was filled with significant events. Not only did Jesus share the Passover meal and communion but it was also the day he retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane. On Holy Thursday, an all-night vigil is kept in memory of the last sleepless night of our Lord on earth. This service is called Khavaroom - Խաւարում (Darkness). Before He was arrested, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and endured in solitude the agony of His impending death. Six sets of laments are chanted, each followed by a Gospel reading depicting Christ’s betrayal, imprisonment, torture, trial, sentence, and crucifixion. Twelve lit candles, 11 white and 1 black (representing Judas) are extinguished in pairs.

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