Thursday in Holy Week or Maundy Thursday is the fifth day of Holy Week. The liturgy commemorates the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels.
“Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” [Jn 13:34]. Maundy Thursday begins the Easter Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus; this period includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and ends on the evening of Easter.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is normally celebrated in the evening, when Friday begins according to Jewish tradition, as the Last Supper was held on the feast of Passover, according to the three Synoptic Gospels.
The liturgy commemorates the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels.
After the homily, the priest or bishop – in imitation of and representing Christ – ceremonially washes the feet of others, typically 12 people chosen as a cross-section of the community.
On Maundy Thursday, our four-part art series ‘The Art of Holy Week’ for the Paschal Triduum begins with Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting ‘The Last Supper’ from around 1495–1498.