Triduum Sacrum

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ecce homo - See man (19th century illustration)

As Paschal Triduum ( Latin for "sacred three days,") or Triduum Paschale ( "Paschal three days", "Triduum") refers in the liturgy the period of Holy Week , which with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening begins extends from Good Friday , the day of the Lord's suffering and death , through Holy Saturday , the day of the Lord's rest in the grave, and ends on Easter Sunday as the day of the Lord's resurrection .


The early Church understood the Triduum Sacrum to be the three-day celebration of suffering and death , the rest of the grave and the resurrection of Jesus Christ . It originally comprised the Friday before Easter as the day of death, Saturday as the day of rest and Easter Sunday as the day of resurrection. Liturgically, the eve of one day already counts to the next day, so that the triduum originally extended from Thursday evening to Sunday evening. The term appears for the first time in the 4th century with the church father Ambrosius and is deepened theologically by his student Augustine . For the late antique church it was still a matter of course to understand the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as two sides of the same salvation event ( paschal mystery ); in this way the entire triduum formed a unified, continuous liturgy .

The sense of this connection was lost in the Middle Ages . The memory of suffering on the one hand and the celebration of the resurrection on the other hand became more and more independent. So there was a doubling of the triduum. A first triduum was celebrated, which ran from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday , as a three-day commemoration of the suffering with Good Friday as the middle and climax (suffering triduum). In the German-speaking area, the term " Kartage " became common for these days . A second triduum of Easter Sunday , Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday followed (resurrection triduum ), which had the form of three public holidays . Nor the liturgical books , the end of the 16th century following the Council of Trent issued, raise the Monday and Tuesday of the Octave of Easter compared to the other days of the Easter oktav forth. Easter Tuesday as the third Easter holiday disappeared in most regions in the 19th century, mostly as part of secularization and the Enlightenment .

The liturgical movement of the 20th century rediscovered the original triduum. The Roman Catholic Church incorporated this rediscovery into the reform of the Holy Week liturgy from 1951; the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council received this going back to the origin. Thus, the covers Paschal Triduum according to the liturgical books back to the period of the evening Mass of Holy Thursday  - the celebration of the Last Supper  - until Vespers of Easter Sunday . The whole triduum is considered a single solemn festival , the highest of the church year . In the liturgical books it is called The Three Easter Days of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord .


In the liturgy of the holy three days, the divine services on High Thursday ( last supper ), Good Friday (suffering and death of the Lord) and Easter Vigil form a single celebration of the suffering, death and resurrection. These services begin and end in an unusual way. The Holy Mass ends on High Thursday without the final blessing ; In most churches, after the subsequent transmission of the Holy of Holies in memory of Jesus' agony on the Mount of Olives, a time of silent adoration - the so-called Mount of Olives Hour  - or a night watch is held. The liturgy of Good Friday begins with a silent prostration , the prostration of priest and deacon , and without an opening greeting from the priest. It ends with a blessing prayer over the people. On Holy Saturday only the Liturgy of the Hours takes place. The celebration of the Easter Vigil begins with the light celebration and the entry with the Easter candle into the dark church. Only this service ends with the final blessing of the mass and an actual discharge. Good Friday and Holy Saturday are the only days of the church year on which no holy mass is celebrated.

In many churches of the Reformation , too, the triduum sacrum was rediscovered as a liturgical unit and designed accordingly. In this context, the previously much discussed question of whether Good Friday or Easter Sunday is the highest festival has become irrelevant.

The Eastern churches had never lost the connection between the memory of suffering and the celebration of the resurrection and thus the original triduum.

Other tridues

Based on the Easter triduum there are other tridues in the tradition of the Church, see above

  • the Pentecost triduum with Pentecost Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as (until the liturgical reform of Pius XII) particularly prominent days of the Pentecost octave
  • regional three-day celebrations on the occasion of saints' feasts or for the worship of certain relics


  • Odo Casel : Type and meaning of the oldest Christian Easter celebration. In: Yearbook for liturgical science. 14th Vol., 1934, pp. 1-78.
  • Congregation for Divine Worship: Circular “On the Celebration of Easter and its Preparation” . Pronouncements of the Apostolic See 81; Bonn 1990; 15-46.
  • M. Morozowich: Holy Thursday in the Jerusalem and Constantinopolitan Traditions. The Liturgical Celebration from the Fourth to the Fourteenth Centuries , Diss. Pont. Is. Orientale Rome, 2002; still unprinted.
  • Sebastià Janeras: Le Vendredi-Saint dans la tradition liturgique byzantine. Structure et history de ses offices. Benedictina, Roma 1988; no ISBN.
  • Gabriel Bertonière: The historical development of the Easter Vigil and related services in the Greek Church. Pont. Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, Roma 1972; no ISBN.

Individual evidence