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The vigil on the eve of Holy Thursday is dedicated exclusively to the Passover Supper which Christ celebrated with his twelve apostles. The main theme of the day is the meal itself at which Christ commanded that the Passover of the New Covenant be eaten in remembrance of Himself, of His body broken and His blood shed for the remission of sins. In addition, Judas’ betrayal and Christ’s washing of His disciples feet is also central to the liturgical commemoration of the day.
In cathedral churches it is the custom for the bishop to re-enact the foot washing in a special ceremony following the Divine Liturgy. At the vigil of Holy Thursday, the Gospel of Saint Luke about the Lord’s Supper is read. At the Divine Liturgy the Gospel is a composite of all the evangelists’ accounts of the same event. The hymns and the readings of the day also all refer to the same central mystery.
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