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Maundy Thursday observed

By Our Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA, MARCH 24. Maundy Thursday was observed with religious fervour at various churches in Central Travancore today.

The observance included celebration of the Holy Eucharist and washing-the-feet ritual.

The newly consecrated Yoohanon Mar Chrisostomos led the celebrations at St. Ignatius' Orthodox Church at Kaippattoor near Pathanamthitta this afternoon.

Thomas Mar Athanasiusm Synod secretary of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, was the chief celebrant at the Maundy Thursday worship held at St. Stephen's Orthodox Church at Meenthalakara near Thiruvalla.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the events in which Jesus Christ ate the Last Supper with his disciples on the occasion of Passover, a major festival of the Jews. During the Last Supper, Jesus gave a new commandment to his disciples that they `love one another' and it has become the central theme of Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday stands for the Lord's Supper or Communion or the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving.

The special prayers at the Metropolitan Church at Changanassery were led by Archbishop Joseph Powathil, who also led the washing-the-feet- ceremony. Bishop Kunnassery led the prayers at Christ the King Cathedral in Kottayam while Bishop Mathews Mar Savarios led the prayers at St John's Church, Kooroppada.

This year's Good Friday is of special importance to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Jacobite Syrian Church as the Feast of Annunciation too falls on the same day. Normally, the worship on Good Friday does not start with the Holy Eucharist. However, on account of the Feast of Annunciation, the third important feast for Eastern Churches, the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated before the commencement of the special worship of the Passion.

According to Thomas Mar Athanasius, the last time this took place was in 1950. This happens because, while the Feast of Annunciation is celebrated on a fixed date (March 25), the date of Good Friday changes year to year. The two Feasts would fall on the same date in 2016, next, he said.

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