Today the Orthodox Church observes Holy Thursday, the fourth day of the Holy and Great Easter Week, culminating in three days with Pascha, as Easter Sunday is called by the Church – from the Aramaic word for “Passover”.

On the evening of Holy Thursday, the eve of the Hebrew feast of unleavened bread – Passover – the Gospels have Christ the Redeemer break bread with His Twelve disciples in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

According to the New Testament scriptures, Christ blessed the bread and the wine, which for the Orthodox Church is the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. He washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humility, and He said openly that one of them was about to betray Him, pointing out the betrayer by revealing that it was he “…that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish.”

According to the Gospels, and recounted by the clergymen during the Holy Thursday liturgy, after Judas had straightway gone forth, Jesus gave the disciples His final and sublime instructions, which are contained in the first Gospel Reading of the Holy Passion.

After this, the Gospels relate that Christ went forth to the Mount of Olives, and there He began to be sorrowful and in anguish. As soon as He had completed that anguished prayer, lo, Judas came with a multitude of soldiers and a great crowd; on greeting the Teacher, guile fully with a kiss, he betrayed Him.

The Holy Passion, as Easter Week is known in Greece, began three days ago, on Holy Monday.