Good Friday is an important day on the calendar of the Christian community all around the world. Jesus Christ's ultimate sacrifice, his pain and suffering are all remembered during Good Friday. Prayers are held in churches all around the world remembering the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
Earlier, only Easter Sunday was celebrated as a holy day by the Christian Church. By the fourth century, each day of the week preceding Easter were established as holy days including Good Friday. It is believed that "Good" represents the good gift of salvation brought forth by martyrdom.
Celebration of Eucharist (Sacrament of Thanksgiving Day) is suspended in accordance with the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions. Liturgical (Set of Public Religious worship) service involves veneration (respect) of the cross, the Passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John, and communion using bread and wine consecrated on Maundy Thursday, the previous day. Other forms of observance include prayer and meditation at the Stations of the Cross, a succession of 14 images, usually on wooden crosses, depicting Christ's crucifixion and the events leading up to it. From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day. In the Eastern orthodox Churches, it is known as the "Great Friday".
Celebration of Good Friday
Since 100 C. E., Good Friday has been observed as a day of simple fasting having no association with Jesus' death. Only from late fourth century, it has been associated with the crucifixion. On this day, special service prayers are held with readings from the Gospel leading up to the crucifixion. Mainstream Christian Churches view Christ's crucifixion as a voluntary and vicarious act, where death itself was conquered by resurrection.
Divine Liturgy or Mass is not celebrated in churches on this day. However, Catholics can still receive the Eucharist consecrated the previous day at the Holy Thursday Mass. Instead of the Divine Liturgy, the Orthodox meet up to three times during the day for prayer: in the forenoon, to pray the Royal Hours appointed for that day; in the afternoon, the Vespers of Holy Friday; and in the evening, the Matins of Holy Saturday. Many Protestant Churches hold special services on this day as well.
Catholic Good Friday services include readings from Scripture, with the priest, one or more readers, and the congregation all taking part. A crucifix is presented, with the people given an opportunity to venerate it. Some Congregations also re-enact the role of Jesus' in a ritual called the Stations of the Cross. Hence, Good Friday is observed as a day of sorrow, mourning and fasting.
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