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April2–8

Orthodox Holy Week – April 2-8, 2023

The year, Orthodox Holy Week will be observed from April 2 to 8. The celebrations begin the week after Lazarus Saturday on the evening of Palm Sunday and they conclude on Easter Sunday. Orthodox Holy Week is observed 40 days after the start of Lent. The week kicks off with the commemoration of Jesus of Nazareth’s arrival at Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, followed by the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday and the Passion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Orthodox Holy Week concludes with Christ’s death and descent into Hades. The week-long observation celebrates and honors the life of Christ.

History of Orthodox Holy Week

The earliest reference to the celebration of this week can be found in the Apostolical Constitutions, dating back to the 3rd and 4th Centuries. It was observed through abstinence from flesh throughout the week and with full fasts on Friday and Saturday. Some devout Christians would even fast for 91 days. It’s believed that in Constantinople, public businesses were shut down for the seven days before and seven days after Easter.

Out of all the important days within Orthodox Holy Week, the earliest to gain prominence was Good Friday, eventually followed by Easter. References to Orthodox Holy Week can also be found in The Pilgrimage of Etheria, which carefully details how the observance of Orthodox Holy Week was carried out at that time. In Western Christian Churches, which include Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholics, the celebration of Holy Week is almost identical.

Each day of the week has a special name. The week starts with Lazarus Saturday, followed by Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and concludes on Sunday with Pascha. Pascha or Easter Sunday is the final day of celebrations and marks the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Since the week celebrates the holy life of Christ, Holy Week is of special significance to every devout Christian. The week is celebrated by attending mass, praying, serving the poor, and repenting for one’s misdeeds.

Orthodox Holy Week timeline

326 AD
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

One of the oldest churches in the world is built in Jerusalem.

1506
The St. Peter’s Basilica

Construction of the world’s biggest church begins in Vatican City.

1600
The Akbar Church

India’s first Catholic church is built by a Muslim ruler.

1980
The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida

The world’s largest cathedral, located in Brazil, opens to the public.

Orthodox Holy Week FAQs

What is Maundy Thursday?

It is a part of the Holy Week and Christians remember the day Jesus washed His Apostles’ feet and then had the Last Supper with them.

What are the seven days of Holy Week?

In Western Christianity, the Holy Week comprises Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

What happens on Holy Tuesday?

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem, where Jesus spoke to his companions about the importance of faith.

How to Observe Orthodox Holy Week

  1. Go to church

    Devout Christians may celebrate Holy Orthodox Week by regularly visiting their local church. This often also includes going to mass and joining others in prayer.

  2. Practice abstinence

    One of the most important ways of observing Holy Orthodox Week is by practicing abstinence. You can do so by abstaining from fleshly desires and fasting throughout the week.

  3. Serve those in need

    To serve those in need is to serve God, says the Christian creed. Observe Holy Orthodox Week by serving the poor, the homeless, and those in need. You can sign up with volunteer groups or simply donate money.

5 Facts About Christianity

  1. Christianity is not a western religion

    There are more Christians in China than the entire population of Britain.

  2. More women are Christians

    About 55% of Christian followers are women.

  3. Jesus’ earthly father was a carpenter

    Joseph is the patron saint of Mexico, Canada, and Belgium.

  4. Its role in the Roman empire

    Christianity replaced pagan worship in 392 AD and became the official religion of the Roman empire.

  5. The belief in heaven and hell

    About 25% of Christians do not believe in an afterlife.

Why Orthodox Holy Week is Important

  1. A week of praying

    For many devout Christians, Holy Orthodox Week is the time to practice their religious beliefs by praying and attending church. The celebrations allow them to reconnect with their faith.

  2. Ancient traditions

    Celebrations such as Holy Orthodox Week keep ancient traditions alive. Devotees and churches ensure that age-old traditions are still in practice, in a way bringing us closer to history.

  3. A chance to start afresh

    This week gives a chance to engage in days of abstinence and fasting. These activities offer devotees a fresh start to repent and start anew as good Christians.

Orthodox Holy Week dates

YearDateDay
2022April 2Saturday
2023April 2Sunday
2024March 24Sunday
2025April 13Sunday
2026March 29Sunday

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