Triduum christian celebrations

The direct preparation for Easter celebration of Jesus Resurrection is called Triduum. It connects three days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. How does it look like in Scotland and Poland?

Maundy Thursday


On Maundy Thursday Catholics celebrate Solemn Mass of Lord’s Supper. It has to memorise the Last Supper, which Jesus celebrated with his twelve Disciples as a Passover feast, when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion. It also commemorates His institution of the priesthood. Read more.

That day I attended the mass in St. Patrick’s church in Dundee. The Body of Christ is moved after the mass to Altar of repose where it is adored by faithful until late at night.


Altar of repose in St Anna’s church, Wroclaw, Poland


Last Supper was illustrated by famous painter Leonardo da Vinci in the masterpiece at this title. It is a late 15th-century mural painting. The Last Supper measures 460cm × 880cm (180in × 350in) and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.

The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. All twelve apostles have different reactions to the news, with various degrees of anger and shock. The apostles are identified from a manuscript (The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci p. 232) with their names found in the 19th century.

Good Friday


Friday is a day commemorating Jesus crucifixion and death. Now a little bit of history:

According to the gospels, Jesus was betrayed by Judas on the night of the Last Supper. The morning following Christ’s arrest, he was brought before Annas, a powerful Jewish cleric. […] From there, Jesus was sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province. He questioned Jesus but found no reason to condemn Him. Instead, he suggested Jewish leaders deal with Jesus according to their own law. But under Roman law, they could not execute Jesus, so they appealed to Pilate to issue the order to kill Jesus.

Pilate appealed to King Herod, who found no guilt in Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate once again. Pilate declared Jesus to be innocent, and washed his hands to show that he wanted nothing to do with Jesus, but the crowds were enraged. To prevent a riot and to protect his station, Pilate reluctantly agreed to execute Jesus and sentenced him to crucifixion. Jesus was convicted of proclaiming himself to be the King of the Jews.

Before his execution, Jesus was flogged, which was a customary practice intended to weaken a victim before crucifixion. Crucifixion was an especially painful method of execution and was perfected by the Romans as such. It was reserved for the worst criminals, and generally Roman citizens, women, and soldiers were exempt in most cases.

During his flogging, the soldiers tormented Jesus, crowning Him with thorns and ridicule.

Following his flogging, Jesus was compelled to carry his cross to the place of His execution, at Calvary. During his walk to the site of His execution, Jesus fell three times and the Roman guards randomly selected Simon, a Cyrene, to help Jesus.

After arrival at Calvary, Jesus was nailed to the cross and crucified between two thieves. One of the thieves repented of his sins and accepted Christ while on the cross beside Him. A titulus, or sign, was posted above Christ to indicate His supposed crime. The titulus read, „Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” It is commonly abbreviated in Latin as „INRI” (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum).

During Christ’s last few hours on the cross, darkness fell over the whole land. Jesus was given a sponge with sour wine mixed with gall, a weak, bitter painkiller often given to crucified victims.

At the moment of Christ’s death, an earthquake occurred, powerful enough to open tombs. The long, thick curtain at the Temple was said to have torn from top to bottom.

Following the incredible events of the day, the body of Christ was removed from the cross and laid in a donated tomb, buried according to custom.


On Good Friday there are two celebrtions in the church. One of them is Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. People concentrate on the Cross and the passion of Christ, which is read according to Gospel of John. There is also a prayer trying to remember about all the poeple. It concludes with a series of prayers: for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and laity of the Church, those preparing for baptism, the unity of Christians, the Jewish people, those who do not believe in Christ, those who do not believe in God, those in public office, those in special need.

The Body of Christ is moved from the Altar of repose to the tomb. On that day there is no mass celebrated. It is time of fasting and prayer. 84% of Polish people practice strict fasting (no meet and alcohol, only 3 dishes during the day) – due to „I love you Poland” TV program. Read more.


Tomb of Jesus in St Anna’s church, Wroclaw, Poland

The second celebrtion in the church is Stations of the Cross and Veneration of the Cross. People gther in the church to consider 14 stations of way of the cross, as follows:

  1. Pilate condemns Jesus to die
  2. Jesus accepts his cross
  3. Jesus falls for the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother, Mary
  5. Simon helps carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls for the second time
  8. Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls for the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

The Stations of the Cross are usually celebrated every Friday during Lent. In Wroclaw, my homecity there were Stations of the Cross celebrated by students last Friday in the city centre, gathering few thousands of young people following the Cross.

Photos from Gość Niedzielny Wrocław:


Good Friday is celebrated in Phillipines in a very special way. Whereas it is not supported by the Catholic Church, the local custom is still alive.

Devotees or penitents called magdarame in Kapampangan are willingly crucified in imitation of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, while related practices are carrying wooden crosses, crawling on rough pavement, and self-flagellation. Penitents considered these acts to be mortification of the flesh, and undertake these to ask forgiveness for sins, to fulfil a vow, or to express gratitude for favours granted (Wikipedia). There are some people who will to be crucified annually, some of them more than 50 times in their lifetime.

Holy Saturday


Holy Saturday commemorates the day, which Jesus lay in the tomb after his death. It is a time of reflection on Christ’s death and burial. On this day, the believers wait at the Lord’s tomb, and meditate on his passion and death. With prayer and fasting they await His glorious Easter resurrection. It is a day of silence.


Whereas in Poland, there is a special custom of food blessing. More in the article: Blessing of Easter Foods


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