Good Friday, also called Holy or Great Friday. It is the Friday preceding Easter
Sunday (Pascha). It commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at
Golgotha. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, or Easter Friday, though
the latter normally refers to the Friday in Easter week.
The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, which in the Latin Rite of
the Church is understood as having only one full meal and two collations i.e., a
smaller repast, two of which together do not equal one full meal and on which the
faithful abstain from eating meat.
The Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of
reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus suffered during his Passion
on Good Friday. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition
for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins against Jesus.
In Anglican Communion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer did not specify a particular
rite to be observed on Good Friday but local custom came to mandate an assortment
of services, including the Seven Last Words from the Cross and a three-hour service
consisting of Matins, Ante-communion and Evensong.
In Lutheran tradition from the 16th to the 20th century, Good Friday was the most
important holiday, and abstention from all worldly works was expected. It was a
prime day on which to receive the Eucharist, and services were often accentuated
by special music.
Eastern Orthodox Christians are not supposed to eat at all on this day and the
next. Good Friday is a fast day in the Catholic Church. It is a day of mourning
in church, which is formally known as The Order of Holy and Saving Passion of
Lord Jesus Christ, begins on Thursday night.
In the Orthodox understanding, the events of Holy Week are not simply an annual
commemoration of past events, but the faithful actually participate in the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox Church begins the day with Matins
(Morning Prayer), where the 'Twelve Gospels' is chanted.
The last words from the cross
The Bible quotes seven last sentences that Jesus Christ spoke from the Cross.
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34)
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Woman, here is your son... Here is your mother (John 19:26)
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) (Mark 15:34)
I am thirsty (John 19:28)
It is finished (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46)
The seven last words have inspired a number of composers....
Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually in
the evening, in which Christ's death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of
thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes, and observance
of the Lord's Supper. Whether or not Christians choose to celebrate Good Friday,
the events of that day should be ever on our minds because the death of Christ
on the cross is the paramount event of the Christian faith.
Many other Protestant communities hold special services on this day as well.
The Methodist Church commemorates Good Friday with a service of worship, often
based on the Seven Last Words from the Cross.
Good Friday is celebrated in many countries as a public holiday.