The Good Friday ( Old High German kara , action ',' grief ',' sadness') is the Friday before Easter . It follows Maundy Thursday and precedes Holy Saturday . Christians commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross on this day . Good Friday is also called silent Friday or high Friday .
In the Catholic Church, Good Friday is a strict day of fasting and abstinence . It is part of the Easter three-day celebration (Triduum Sacrum or Triduum Paschale), which begins with the mass of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, extends through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the day of the rest of the Lord's rest, and with the celebration of the resurrection of Christ in the Easter night ends.
This three-day Easter celebration is the oldest and highest feast of the church year in all denominations and is celebrated liturgically as the paschal mystery as a single service that begins on Maundy Thursday with the opening of the service and ends with the blessing on Easter morning.
So far there has been no fundamental historical investigation into Good Friday. Good Friday is based on an event described in the New Testament . The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth on Golgotha described Markus : "It was the third hour, and they crucified him" ( Mk 15.22 to 25 EU ). It was therefore initially considered a day of remembrance in the emerging Christianity . The first Christians celebrated it as the “Crucifixion Passover”, the preparation day for Easter . The Easter fasting was limited to times of Tertullian on Good Friday and Holy Saturday and stretched by 250 AD the Holy Week from. In 325 the First Council of Nicaea decided on the flexible Roman Easter date. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday, Pope Innocent I (416) wrote in his letter to Decentius of Eugubium about the Church of Rome that the celebration of the sacrament was not necessary here ( Latin "iduo sacramenta penitus non celebrari" ).
In the Middle Ages , Good Friday was by no means one of the high Christian festivals such as Easter as the day of the resurrection , but was only considered a half-holiday, on which work should only rest during the service or until noon . After the Reformation , many regional churches continued this day as a half-holiday in the old tradition. The Zurich “Ordinance of Holidays” of 1526 did not envisage it as a public holiday, according to the Church Ordinance of Saxony from 1528 it should be “kept in measure”. In 1532 the Hessian church order no longer mentioned it as a public holiday. The Lutheran Church , on the other hand, increased the importance of Good Friday by equating it with the main church festivals ( Christmas , Easter and Whitsun ), for example in the Oldenburg Church Regulations in 1573 .
From 1642, Good Friday became the normal working day in the entire Catholic Church due to the festive order of Pope Urban VIII , while Martin Luther's "Guter Freitag" ("Kar-" from Latin carus , "dear", "good" or "dear") established as the highest church holiday in the Protestant sector. The current term for Good Friday in the Anglo-Saxon language area ( English Good Friday ) or in the Netherlands ( Dutch goede vrijdag ) developed from “Good Friday” . In the reformed areas of Switzerland , Good Friday only became a public holiday around 1860. In Kurbrandenburg , Good Friday was given the function of a full holiday in 1696. The festival order of 1771 recognized Good Friday as a whole holiday. The English Bank Holidays Act first made civil holidays binding in October 1871.
Sir Robert Anderson , employed in a managerial position at Scotland Yard , calculated in 1895 with the help of the Royal Greenwich Observatory the day of entry into Jerusalem on Nisan 10 (April 6) AD 32. Good Friday as the day of the crucifixion would therefore be on following Friday, April 11, 32 AD
Meaning in Christianity
Good Friday is one of the most important holidays for Christians in connection with Easter . The Church commemorates Jesus Christ's death on the cross in anticipation of his resurrection . According to their faith, Jesus Christ suffered and died as a “servant of God” and voluntarily accepted the sin and guilt of all people in his death on the cross . It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus that all human beings receive the forgiveness of sins and thus salvation from death and eternal life. At the same time, Catholic theology increasingly emphasizes the consistency of his sonship with God, the message of which the Creator God turns to people is not limited to violence and death.
The Good Friday event is not to be viewed in isolation, but rather stands as a “ paschal mystery ” in a row with Easter, Ascension Day and Pentecost . The great thing is not the sacrifice of Jesus alone, but the victory over hell , death and grave.
The Good Friday liturgy of the various denominations is of great interest, especially for liturgical science, as the principle is true: "The oldest traditions are most likely to be preserved in a liturgical period of high quality" ( Anton Baumstark ). The oldest traditional rites on Good Friday include the omission of the opening rites , the singing or reading of the Passion story , the use of wooden rattles instead of bells and altar bells, the prostration , the singing of improperia and the great intercessions . As early as 500 the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Gelasius I took over the Kyrielitany from the Orthodox churches, in whose liturgy many early church rites are still preserved. In the Liturgy of the Hours , Vespers is only prayed by those who could not take part in the afternoon celebration of the passion and death of Christ .
In the Roman Catholic Church
Good Friday is integrated into the “three-day celebration of suffering and death, of the rest of the grave and the resurrection of the Lord”, the Triduum Sacrum , also known as the “Easter Triduum”. It begins on Maundy Thursday with the mass of the Last Supper and culminates in the celebration of Easter Vigil . As part of the Easter fasting, Good Friday is a strict fast and abstinence day in the Roman Catholic Church . The tradition of not eating meat on Fridays can be traced back to the Good Friday event.
As since early Christian church tradition is, on Good Friday, none of the related festive joy sacraments celebrated ( "Ecclesia [...] sacramenta penitus non celebrat") , so not even the Holy Mass . The altar is unadorned, without candles and altar cloths. Crosses are veiled, triptychs and winged altars are often closed and show the simpler rear of the wings. The eternal light does not burn, candles only burn in the temporary storage place of the Holy of Holies .
The main service of the liturgy of the Latin Church on Good Friday is the celebration of the passion and death of Christ in the afternoon. It consists of three parts with different liturgical historical backgrounds:
- Word service with the recitation of the Passion and the Great Intercessions (Roman tradition)
- Exaltation and worship of the Holy Cross (taken from Jerusalem)
- Communion celebration (according to the old tradition of Constantinople, known in Rome since the 7th century).
The service usually begins at 3 p.m., at the traditional hour of Jesus' death, and by no means later than 6 p.m. The liturgical color is since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council no longer black but red. Red is here as a sign that the suffering and death shed blood of Jesus. No incense is used.
The word service on Good Friday with the biblical readings forms the old and real core of the celebration of the passion and death of Christ; The highlight of the celebration is the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ ( Passion ) according to the evangelist John ( Joh 18,1-19,42 EU ).
This is followed, if necessary, by a short sermon and always the Great Intercessions , which bring the concerns of the Church, the world and those in need before God; this also includes the intercession for the Jews , which was controversial and has been changed several times.
The veneration of the cross (Adoratio crucis) forms the second part of the celebration. The crucifix, which has usually been veiled since the 5th Sunday of Lent (formerly: "Passion Sunday"), is shown raised and venerated by everyone. The showing of the raised cross is connected with the dialogue call, which invites everyone to worship the cross: “ V : See the cross on which the Lord hung, the salvation of the world. A : Come, let us worship. ”(Ecce lignum crucis, in quo salus mundi pependit: Omnes : Venite adoremus.)
The conclusion is a simple communion celebration with "pre- sanctified gifts" ( Hostia praesanctificata ) on Maundy Thursday and the blessing prayer over the people. A celebration of the “Entombment of Christ” follows locally as a pious exercise .
In Catholic churches, according to old tradition, the organ and the church bells are silent after the glory of the mass of the last supper on Maundy Thursday . In many places the bells and bells are replaced by ratchets and rattles, with which churchgoers in many Catholic regions are called to church services, to the hours of worship and to the angelus , according to old tradition .
Entombment, holy grave
In some dioceses , for example in Trier , the Good Friday liturgy is followed by the “burial ceremony”. The Trier diocese tradition adds a fourth to the three parts of the Good Friday afternoon service. After communion, the priest reminds of the removal of the body of Jesus from the cross and his entombment. The celebration of the Entombment is divided into four liturgical elements:
- Gospel of the burial of Jesus
- Walk to the Holy Sepulcher
- Blessing prayer and conclusion
The priest reads the end of the St. John Passion at the ambo ( Joh 19,38–42 EU ). Because of the celebration of the burial, the story of the Passion ends with the words: "They will look at him whom they have pierced" ( Jn 19:37 EU ). After the preaching of the gospel of the burial of Jesus, an altar boy places the cross for the priest on the chasuble which is tied over both arms. He carries it to the Holy Sepulcher that has been prepared in the church. It is accompanied by two lamp holders . The Thuriferar leads the procession, followed by the acolytes with the clappers, those performing a special service and, if possible, the other believers. During the transmission of the cross, the responsory “Jerusalem luge” or the song “O sadness, o heartache” can be sung.
The priest lays the cross at the place of entombment. He incenses it and covers it with a linen cloth. Meanwhile the choir can sing the responsory “Ecce quomodo moritur justus” or “Sepulto Domino”. There follows a period of silence. At the end of the celebration, the priest says the blessing prayer. Then he can sing the verse : “A place is prepared for him in peace. His abode will be on Zion ”. The priest goes directly to the sacristy with the liturgical services . The believers leave the church in silence.
A symbolic burial place, the “holy grave”, with the cross placed there, the image of Christ resting in the grave, is also widespread in other churches in which such a custom of burial is not otherwise common. The Holy Sepulcher was visited by the faithful after the celebration of the Passion and Death of Christ and on Holy Saturday during the day of the Lord's rest on the tomb (Visitatio crucis) . Lingering in prayer in front of the Holy Sepulcher for 40 hours that Jesus is said to have been in the grave is considered the origin of the forty-hour prayer .
The cross set up in the church (or the one lying in the holy grave) is venerated by a single or double knee bend until the celebration of Easter Vigil.
Devotions and processions
Regional customs also include processions , such as the Good Friday procession in Lohr am Main , Menden im Sauerland, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt and, since 1668, in Neunkirchen am Brand . Such processions on Good Friday are very common in southern Italy and Sicily, in Spain - especially in Andalusia - and in Guatemala (see Semana Santa ). The Bensheim Passion Play as well as the Way of the Cross through the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and the one in the Colosseum in Rome, which is celebrated with the Pope, are also of supraregional importance . A procession of suffering in Heiligenstadt in Eichsfeld was moved from Good Friday to Palm Sunday in 1734 and continues to this day with six larger-than-life Passion figures on this day; in 2016 it was recognized by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage”.
In the Protestant churches
By a number of factors: the concentration of the evangelical sermon on the meaning of the redeeming work of Christ ( Solus Christ ) and the " theology of the cross " as well as the concentration of the celebration of the Lord's Supper on very few times a year, especially on Good Friday, developed This day in the time of Pietism on the holiday that was perceived in the Protestant regional churches as the most important in the church year - a perception that lasted until about the middle of the 20th century. Good Friday became a decidedly Protestant holiday, a denominational feature of the Evangelicals that gave their identity. The talk of the “highest holiday in the Protestant church” can still be found today, although a cultural change has taken place since the middle of the 20th century.
The focus of the celebration was the contemplation of the Passion story through sermons, prayer and songs. In the north German church ordinances drawn up by Johannes Bugenhagen it was stipulated that the Passion Harmony he had compiled was to be read out on Good Friday. Another important element of contemplative visualization was church music in the form of passion chorales such as O Head full of blood and wounds by Paul Gerhardt . The Passion Oratorio ( St. John Passion , St. Matthew Passion , St. Luke Passion) developed from the passion music, which combined the responsorically presented passion story with an instructive introduction ( Exordium ) and a meditative conclusion .
After the Lutheran churches in particular maintained the pre-Reformation liturgical practice into the 18th century - minus a few pieces perceived as abuses - this changed with the emerging influence of rationalist and pietist theology and piety, which resulted in the interpretation of Holy Communion as a sacrament greatly lost in importance. As a result, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Good Friday was one of the few days on which the Lord's Supper was celebrated in almost all Protestant churches . Even today, receiving the Lord's Supper on that day is an important part of spirituality in some churches. In other parishes, Good Friday is celebrated in the old church tradition without the Lord's Supper. The liturgical color is black, alternatively purple, even if no paraments are often used. Flower arrangements and candles are also rather unusual on Good Friday. On Good Friday - as well as on Holy Saturday - in some places, following the Catholic tradition, the bells are silent, or only the largest bell (pulse bell) rings.
The readings are verses from 22 Ps ( Ps 22 LUT ), a Servant Song from Isa ( Isa 53.1 to 12 LUT ), a passage from the second Korintherbrief ( 2 Cor 5.19 to 21 LUT ) as Epistel as well as a summary of the Passion story from the Gospel of John ( Joh 19,16-30 LUT ) as a gospel . You can also read the entire story of the Passion according to John ( Joh 18–19 LUT ). The intercessions are usually designed according to the pattern of the Great Intercessions or as a litany under the cross (which comes from the tradition of the Berneuchen movement ).
In some Protestant churches, in addition to the main service in the morning or instead, a liturgical celebration for the hour of Jesus' death at 3 p.m. ( Mk 15.25 LUT ) or a performance of the St. John Passion or other passion music takes place in a service setting. Good Friday also plays a special role in the customs of many Protestant families through going to church together and often also through a fish meal .
In the Eastern Churches of Byzantine and Slavic tradition
The Good Friday celebration in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches of the Byzantine and Slavic tradition usually begins on Thursday evening with the morning service (Orthros / utrenja). This service - often simply called "The Twelve Gospels" in the vernacular - is determined by twelve Gospel readings. The official name is " Acoluthia of Sacred Sorrows". In the service, the Passion texts from the four Gospels are sung, as well as fifteen antiphons and cathisms, some of them from the early Church . The "canon" of this service comes from Kosmas von Majuma and is a prime example from the time of the second heyday of Byzantine church poetry in the 7th / 8th centuries. Century. In the Greek, but also in the Romanian tradition, the service has a dramatic climax with the singing of the 15th antiphon. Here a crucifix is carried from the north door of the iconostasis to the center of the church and fastened there. This is followed by the worship of the cross by the community. The text of the first stanza of the 15th antiphon reads:
“Today depends on the wood that hung the earth in the water.
The king of angels is wrapped in a wreath of thorns.
Lying is veiled with purple, which veils the sky with clouds.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan received blows.
The bridegroom of the church was fastened with nails.
The virgin's son was pierced with a lance.
We worship your sufferings, Christ.
Show us your glorious resurrection too! "
The next services to be celebrated on Friday morning are the “royal hours”. With them, in the Greek tradition, the crucifix is removed from the cross that was set up in the church the previous evening and wrapped in a white cloth.
In the subsequent Vespers , the ceremonial display of the grave cloth of Christ (epitaphios or plaschtschanica) takes place in the church. This cloth with an icon of the dead Christ remains there until Easter as a place where the believers venerate the Christ who has risen into the grave.
The procession of Epitaphios (plaschtschanica) takes place on the evening of Good Friday . The Eastern Church's Good Friday hymns contain numerous anticipations of the Resurrection.
As a special sign of silence in the face of death, no Eucharist is celebrated on Good Friday . The Holy Friday Communion celebration (liturgy of pre-sanctified gifts), which is part of the Constantinople tradition, disappeared in the 15th century, locally a little earlier.
The only time a full liturgy is celebrated on Good Friday is when it coincides with the proclamation of the Lord on March 25th; for this case there is a special united liturgy of the two feasts. In contrast to the Latin tradition, the Byzantine Eastern Churches do not know the reassignment of holidays.
Good Friday is a strict day of fasting in the Orthodox churches. If you eat at all, it is limited to the simplest fat-free plant-based foods.
In the old Catholic Church
The day of the Lord's suffering and death is celebrated in the old Catholic Church with a word service at the hour of Jesus' death.
The opening and the discharge are simple and unadorned:
- There is no singing while moving in
- The altar service prostrates or kneels in front of the bared altar
- After silent prayer, the daily prayer follows
- After the closing prayer, everyone leaves the service room in silence
The word service consists of the following parts:
- Non-evangelical reading (s)
- Reading of the Passion
- Great intercessions
- Cross worship with improperia
- in some places: Communion distribution
The veneration of the cross can also follow immediately after the passion or after the sermon. The great intercessions are carried out after this process before the revealed cross and concluded with the Our Father .
Three hour devotion
In the 18th century, the Jesuit Alonso Messia Bedoya developed a non-liturgical form of devotion in Lima . It consisted of readings and reflections on the seven last words of Jesus , combined with songs and prayers. This form of devotion spread through Rome also in Europe; With The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross, Joseph Haydn created her most famous musical version. In the English-speaking world, the celebration, which lasted from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is therefore also known as the Three-Hours Service , became very popular in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries both in the Catholic Church and in various Protestant denominations .
The earliest possible date for Good Friday is March 20th (this was last in 1818); the latest possible April 23 (not again until 2038).
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Good Friday is a public holiday in Germany and most of the cantons of Switzerland ; Exceptions are the cantons of Valais and Ticino . Until 1859/60, however, Maundy Thursday was a “major holiday” in its place in Switzerland ; its replacement goes back to a suggestion by the doctor and Palestine researcher Titus Tobler . Also, Good Friday is in Angola , Argentina , Australia , Bermuda , Bolivia , Brazil , Chile , Costa Rica , Denmark , the Dominican Republic , Ecuador , Finland , Greece , Guatemala , India , Canada , Cape Verde , Colombia , Malta , Mexico , New Zealand , Norway , East Timor , Paraguay , Peru , the Philippines , Singapore , Spain , Sweden , Slovakia , South Africa , the Czech Republic , the United Kingdom and Venezuela have a public holiday.
The Hungarian parliament said after a corresponding input on March 7, 2017. Good Friday a public holiday in the future.
Good Friday is not a public holiday in Austria , Italy and Luxembourg . Only for members of the Evangelical Church A. B. in Austria , the Evangelical Church H. B. in Austria , the Old Catholic Church in Austria and the United Methodist Church in Austria , Good Friday was a public holiday until 2018 in accordance with the federal law on public holidays. In a judgment from June 2016, the Vienna Higher Regional Court saw this as a violation of the EU Equal Treatment Directive. As a result, the holiday was abolished; see below (litigation).
Silent day in Germany
Since Good Friday is one of the so-called silent days , special restrictions apply, such as the ban on dancing . It prohibits various public events, such as sporting events, those in rooms with a bar and all other public events for entertainment “unless they serve the spiritual and spiritual uplifting or a higher interest in art, science or popular education and the serious nature of the day Be considerate. ”Cinemas, theaters and operas must also take Good Friday into account in their repertoire. In Bremen, the traditional " Osterwiese ", a folk festival with rides etc., is closed on Good Friday, as is the " Spring Cathedral " in Hamburg .
In October 2016, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the recognition of Good Friday as a public holiday and its design as a day with special protection of silence and the associated restrictive effects on fundamental rights was basically due to the constitutional regulation on protection of Sundays and public holidays in GG in connection with Art. 139 WRV are justified because they do not prescribe an internal attitude for anyone, but merely create an external framework.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, according to Section 6, Paragraph 3, No. 3 of the Law on Sundays and Holidays on Good Friday, "the showing of films that are not recognized by the Minister of Education or the body designated by him as being suitable for showing on Good Friday", forbidden.
Public holiday litigation
On November 30, 2016, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the strict protection of Good Friday in Bavaria by a general ban on dancing to be unconstitutional. Such a ban would violate freedom of assembly and belief . Good Friday is particularly protected as a quiet day ; to exclude any possibility of exemption from the outset is, however, disproportionate. The lawsuit was brought by the Bund für Geistesfreiheit .
The Stuttgart Administrative Court has on 16 April 2019, the City of Stuttgart obliged by order, on condition doors and windows closed for an exemption from the prohibition of the Public Holidays Act, for show the films The word for Good Friday (with humanistic dance blessing) and The Life of Brian on Good Friday on April 19, 2019. The applicant was a member of the Giordano Bruno Foundation .
In Austria, Good Friday was only a public holiday for members of the Evangelical Churches AB and HB , the Old Catholic and the Evangelical Methodist Churches until 2018 . After a lawsuit supported by the Chamber of Labor , the European Court of Justice ruled in January 2019 that this was religiously discriminatory , whereby Good Friday was abolished as a public holiday.
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- Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship: Circular “On the Celebration of Easter and its Preparation” . January 1988. No. 26: “The custom of covering the crosses in churches from the 5th Sunday of Lent onwards can be maintained if so ordered by the Bishops' Conference. In this case, the crosses remain veiled until the end of the Good Friday liturgy, but the images until the beginning of the Easter Vigil. ”( PDF ; 194 kB).
- Manfred Becker-Huberti : Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round. Herder, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1998, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 290.
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- Directory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
- German UNESCO Commission - Heiligenstadt Palm Sunday Procession.
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- Faith ABC: Good Friday. In: EKD.de. January 31, 2017, accessed on April 19, 2019 : “In the media it is wrongly pointed out again and again that Good Friday is the highest public holiday in the Protestant Church. This assessment is based on the fact that Protestants regard Good Friday as a very special holiday. But for them, as for the whole of Christianity, Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, is the highest feast. "
- See the column on Good Friday in: The celebration of the Eucharist in the Catholic diocese of the Old Catholics . Developed for use in worship services by the Liturgical Commission and published by Bishop and Synodal Representation, Bonn: Alt-Katholischer Bistumsverlag 2006, ISBN 3-934610-30-7 , p. 74.
- See three-hours service. In: JG Davies (Ed.): A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship. London: SCM Press 1972, pp. 355f.
- List of cantonal holidays (PDF)
- Cf. the “Decision of the Cantonal Council [of the Canton of Zurich] regarding the elevation of Good Friday to a high holiday” of June 28, 1858, in force since August 20, 1859, according to which “Good Friday [...] takes the place of high Thursday [is] to be elevated to the main festival with the enjoyment of the Lord's Supper, insofar as all the evangelical and parity estates [= cantons] of the Confederation or at least the large majority, namely the German estates, also speak out in favor of it. "
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