Maundy Thursday (mônˈdē) [key] [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 "new commandment"). 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 "maundy money" 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 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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