Holy Week changes with the calendar each year, but the meaning of this special week within various religious sects has been etched in history. Basically, it depicts the walk of Jesus Christ to the Cross and thru his Resurrection. The season is sometimes called Eastertide. Let’s take a look at what that entails.
Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, who was an Egyptian leader and the chief defender of Christian Orthodoxy, and Saint Epiphanius of Constantia (which is Cyprus), who was a monk in Palestine, began this tradition in the fourth century. At that time the timeframe for this celebration ran from Good Friday through Holy Saturday. Later in the third century, Wednesday was added because that was the day that Judas betrayed Jesus and Thursday for the blessing of the oil for the Last Supper (Maudy Thursday) which means I give you a new commandment.
Saint Epiphanius believed that what Origen taught was heretical. Origen was a Greek philosopher and theologian for the Eastern Orthodox Church. The theories of Saint Epiphanius were dismissed by the doctrine set forth by Origen. Saint Epiphanius returned to Palestine and became the Bishop of Cyprus where he continued to preach against heresy.
Saint Athanasius was a deacon at the Council of Nicaea. He became Bishop of Alexandria after Alexander died. He traveled extensively through Lebanon and Egypt preaching against Arianism. He was accused of threatening the grain supplies in Egypt and without a trial removed to the Rhineland.
The Christian Holy Week begins this celebration on Palm Sunday which signifies the blessing of the palms and triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. It ends on Easter Sunday when Jesus is resurrected from the dead.
Jesus commanded many great deeds during this week. The Greeks and Romans hailed it the Great Week. Pre-Nicene this was celebration was concentrated on the Great Feast or Passover which took place from Saturday night thru Easter morning.
Regardless of which religion you follow I hope you remember the reason for this season!