Skip to main content
Select Source:

Holy Week

Holy Week, week before Easter. Its chief days are named Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. In Christian life it is a week of devout observance, commemorating the Passion and Jesus' death on the cross. The liturgies have special features and services, e.g., Tenebrae. In the Roman Catholic Church these rise to a climax with the vigil of the Resurrection on the evening of Holy Saturday. At this time the paschal candle is blessed with the hymn Exsultet, and Lent, with its fast, ends at midnight.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holy Week." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holy Week." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

"Holy Week." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Holy Week

Holy Week Seven-day period preceding Easter. It begins with Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ's entry into Jerusalem; Maundy Thursday marks his institution of the Eucharist; Good Friday marks his betrayal and crucifixion.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holy Week." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holy Week." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

"Holy Week." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Holy Week

Holy Week. The week preceding Easter, observed in liturgical churches as a period of remembrance of, and attachment to the passion of Christ.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holy Week." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holy Week." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holy-week

"Holy Week." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holy-week

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Holy Week

Ho·ly Week • n. the week before Easter, starting on Palm Sunday.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holy Week." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holy Week." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holy-week

"Holy Week." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holy-week

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Holy Week

HOLY WEEK

Holy Week is the week immediately preceding Easter, the principal week of the liturgical year. Besides the name Holy Week, it is also called Major or Greater Week. In earlier centuries it was known as Passion Week because it commemorated the events of the Passion, as well as Paschal Week since in Christian antiquity the notion of Passion always included the resurrection. The am brosian rite calls it "authentic week," which is also an allusion to the events celebrated during these days. Because public sinners were absolved of their sins on Holy Thursday, Holy Week was in some places "the week of remission." Less happy was the designation "painful week," which it was given in other parts of the Church because of the increased burden of penance and fasting during these days. More to the point is what the Eastern Christians still call it, "the Week of Salvation".

Although the first recorded reference to Holy Week is in St. Athanasius's Festal Letters announcing the date of Easter, the original nucleus of Holy Week was the annual celebration of the Paschal Feast, which was then (3rd century) a threeday (triduum ) commemoration beginning on Friday and ending on the morning of Easter Sunday. Holy Thursday was added by at least the 4th century. The entire week was rounded out at some time in the 5th or 6th century. Many of the Holy Week observances as we know them came originally from Jerusalem and spread through the West.

In 1955, Pius XII restored Holy Week to the prominence it had had in the early church, a prominence it had largely lost through the accretions of extraneous rites and ceremonies over time. In effect, Holy Week was restored as the heart of the Church's year; through the rites of this week we relive the central elements of the paschal mystery. This pastoral consideration prompted Pius XII to insist on the active participation of the people in the Holy Week rites so that the whole Church is drawn into the celebration.

See Also: palm sunday; holy thursday; good friday; easter vigil.

Bibliography: m. tierney, Holy Week: A Commentary (Dublin 1958). c. howell, Preparing for Easter (rev. and enl. Collegeville, Minn. 1957). h. schmidt, Hebdomada Sancta, 2 v. (Rome 195657). w. j. o'shea, The Meaning of Holy Week (Collegeville, Minn. 1958). t. j. talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, 1991). a. j. martimort, ed., The Church at Prayer IV: The Liturgy and Time (Collegeville 1986). a. nocent, The Liturgical Year (Collegeville 1977). j. m. pierce, "Holy Week and Easter in the Middle Ages," in Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times, eds. p. f. bradshaw and l. a. hoffman (South Bend, Ind. 1999) 161185. a. adam, The Liturgical Year: Its History & Its Meaning after the Reform of the Liturgy (New York 1981).

[w. j. o'shea/eds.]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holy Week." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holy Week." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

"Holy Week." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holy-week

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.