Christians in the Holy Land are marking Good Friday with religious sites open to limited
numbers of faithful but none of the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the week leading up to
The virus is still raging in the Philippines, France, Brazil and other predominantly Christian
countries, where worshippers are marking a second annual Holy Week under various movement
restrictions amid outbreaks fanned by more contagious strains.
Last year, Jerusalem was under a strict lockdown, with sacred rites observed by small groups of
priests, often behind closed doors.
It was a stark departure from previous years when tens of thousands of pilgrims would descend
on the city’s holy sites.
This year, Franciscan friars in brown robes led hundreds of worshippers down the Via Dolorosa
while reciting prayers through loudspeakers at the Stations of the Cross.
Another group carried a wooden cross along the route through the Old City, singing hymns and
pausing to offer prayers.
Churches around the world will be holding services for their three most important days during
this Holy Week: Holy Thursday, sometimes called Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter
Easter commemorates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the fundamental belief of Christianity.
It is the earliest and most central of all Christian holidays, more ancient than Christmas.
As a scholar in medieval Christian liturgy, I know that historically the most controversial of
these three holy days has been the worship service for Good Friday, which focuses on the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Two parts of the contemporary Good Friday worship service could be misunderstood as
implicitly anti-Semitic or racist. Both are derived from the medieval Good Friday liturgy that
Catholics and some other Christian churches continue to use in a modified form today.
What the day means to Christians
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death
at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday
preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also
known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday, or Easter Friday, though the last term properly
refers to the Friday in Easter week.
Many Christians around the world observe Good Friday on the Friday. It commemorates Jesus
Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death, which is told in the Christian Bible
What happened on Good Friday?
Good Friday is hugely earmarked as the day that Jesus was crucified on the cross for the
redemption of Christians from their sins. However, before the crucifixion, several events
happened on the same day that include the betrayal and handing over of Jesus to the soldiers by
Judas Iscariot, the persecution of Jesus, denial of Jesus by His disciple Simon Peter, the trial of
Jesus by the governor and chief priests, among others.
Who observes/celebrates Good Friday?
Good Friday is celebrated by many members of several Christian denominations. These include
Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostals, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran,
Methodist, and Reformed traditions.
How is Good Friday Celebrated?
The various Christian denominations that observe Good Friday celebrate it with fasting and
Church services. The Catholic also perform the “way of the cross”, in addition to the Church
service by selecting some members to carry the cross to different points in the demarcated
journey as a way of imitating how Jesus carried His cross. During the Church service, holy
communion is shared by eating the bread and drinking wine, which represent the body of Christ
that was bruised and His blood that was shed for people respectively. Priests and Pastors also use
the Good Friday Church service to call and encourage people (altar call) who have not yet
confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior to do so.
When is Good Friday celebrated?
The date of Good Friday changes each year on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. The
variation in the dates is a result of the disagreement between Eastern and Western Christianity over the computation of the date of Easter.