Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Wednesday

  • Holy Wednesday is also called Spy Wednesday in Christianity.
  • It is called Holy and Great Wednesday in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches.
  • In some sources, it is sometimes known as "Spy Wednesday" which refers to the event of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot for thirty silver coins which was described in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.
  • Another event on this day is the anointing of Jesus with an expensive perfume by a woman who is sometimes referred to as Mary Magdalene in some sources and it can be read in the Gospels of Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-19.
  • The Sacrament or Mystery of Holy Unction is celebrated in Orthodox parishes that commemorates the anointing of Christ with myrrh and the service ends with the priest anointing the faithful with holy oil.
  • The Holy Unction celebrated on Holy Wednesday is an offering for soul-healing and sin-forgiveness and it is a Sacrament performed ideally by seven priests although it can be performed even by a single priest.
  • The biblical basis for the Sacrament is found in James 5:14-16.
  • In Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Hymn of Kassani which was written in the 19th century by St. Kassia (Russian saint), is sung from a woman's perspective to commemorate the anointing of Jesus.
  • In Czech Republic, this day is traditionally called Ugly Wednesday, Soot-Sweeping Wednesday or Black Wednesday, because chimneys used to be swept on this day, to be clean for Easter.
  • In Malta, this day is known as L-Erbgħa tat-Tniebri (Wednesday of Shadows) referring to the liturgical darkness (tenebrae) wherein children in the past went to parish churches and drummed on the chairs to make the sound of thunderstorms, as their version of the strepitus sound at Tenebrae Wednesday.
  • In Scandinavia, this day is known as Dymmelonsdagen in which a dymbil is a piece of wood and historically, the metal clapper of the church bells were replaced by these dymbils on Holy Wednesday making a duller sound.
  • A Tenebrae (Latin, darkness) is often celebrated on this day although it is frequently celebrated on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and it is a service wherein all of the candles on an altar table are gradually extinguished until the sanctuary is in complete darkness and at the moment of darkness there is a loud clash that occurs symbolizing the death of Jesus.
Anointing of Jesus by William Hole
References:

Holy and Great Wednesday - Jesus Anointed
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
Holy Week: What happened on Wednesday?
CatholicCulture 
Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha
About.Com Christianity 
Bible Gateway Blog 
Spy Wednesday
Orthodox Wiki 
Holy Wednesday

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