Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday also known under the term DIES COENAE DOMINICAE (q.v.), is the name given to the Thursday before Easter. The origin of this name is Dies mandati — mandate Thursday; either from the commandment which our Savior gave to his disciples to commemorate the sacrament of his supper, which he instituted on this day (hence also called dies panis, day of bread; and dies lucis, day of light); or because on this day our Savior washed his disciples' feet, and gave them commandment to follow his example. Others derive it from the Saxon mand, which means a basket, and subsequently any gift or offering contained in the basket. On this day penitents who had been put out of the Church on Ash-Wednesday were readmitted. There was also a general celebration of the Lord's Supper, with which the ceremony of washing the feet was connected. Candidates for baptism publicly recited the Creed. The origin of this practice is generally referred to the 7th century, but Riddle (Christian Antiquities, p. 669) contends that "it appears to have been of much earlier institution." SEE PEDILAVIUM.

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