In the divine services for this day the events which preceded the procession of the Savior to his voluntary passion are recalled: the fulfillment of Jesus Christ of the final Passover evening meal with the washing of feet and the establishment of the mystery of the Eucharist and the betrayal of Judas. In the Epistle reading both the establishment of the mystery and its purpose are described and the worthy paradigm of preparation for it and its reception. The Gospel reading tells about the circumstances, which preceded, accompanied and followed the Mystical Supper, and are selected from the passages of the holy Evangelists Matthew, Luke and John. To the various amazing Gospel events remembered on this day there also corresponds an abundant variety of touching feelings and thoughts represented in the church hymns for this day. Beholding the Savior already in the final minutes before His suffering, the Holy Church in its hymns deeply grieves and co-suffers the grief of His spirit with Him in terms so clear to the human heart. But, knowing, who this Sufferer is and for what and for whom He goes to His death, the Holy Church gives no less place and feeling of reverent love to the One going to His voluntary passion and His beneficial glorification. With special power wishing to express indignation for the snares of the Jews and to the perfidy of Judas, on the one hand, and reverent homage for the longsuffering of the Savior, on the other hand, the Holy Church exclaims: “The assembly of the Jews gathers together to deliver the Maker and the Creator of all to Pilate. What lawlessness! What faithlessness! The judge of the living and the dead, they prepare for judgment. The Healer of suffering, they prepare for suffering. O long- suffering Lord! How great is Thy mercy! Glory to thee!” Glorifying the eternal love of the Savior, who took up all the weight of human sins, and His inexpressible humility, the washing of the feet of His servants, the Holy Church reverences before the cup of eternal life offered by the Founder, glorifies the bloody prayer of the Savior in Gethsemane, also giving us a holy and profound lesson: to seek consolation in prayer and confirmation in bearing the cross in our life amidst tribulations and at the time of the approach of death.

S. V. Bulgakov, Handbook for Church Servers, 2nd ed.

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