Maundy Thursday (môn´dē) [Lat. mandatum, word in the ceremony], traditional English name for Thursday of Holy Week, so named because it is considered the anniversary of the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper (that is, the mandatum novum or
). In some churches, Jesus's washing of the disciples' feet is symbolically reenacted. In Great Britain there is a survival in the distribution by the sovereign of special
to certain of the poor at Westminster Abbey. In the Roman Catholic Church, Maundy Thursday is a general communion day; a single Mass is sung, in the evening, and a Host, consecrated for the morrow, is placed in a specially adorned chapel of repose. The altars are stripped bare until the Easter vigil mass.
The Thursday before Easter
. It celebrates Jesus' institution of the eucharist
at the Last Supper
on that day. The English name ‘Maundy’ derives from a Latin antiphon Mandatum novum
(‘a new commandment’, John 13. 34) sung on this day. The royal Maundy Ceremony in the UK, in which the reigning sovereign distributes Maundy money to twelve deserving and (relatively) poor people, has lost all contact with the original commemoration.
In the Christian liturgical calendar, the day before Good Friday
, commemorating the institution of the Eucharist
and the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus, as described in the Gospel
according to Saint John
. In the UK, the day is marked by a ceremony in which the reigning monarch distributes specially minted silver coins to selected pensioners.
the Thursday before Easter, observed in the Christian Church as a commemoration of the Last Supper.