On Holy and Great Thursday morning, 31st March/13th April 2017, the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great was celebrated at St. James the Brother of God Cathedral, which is between the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood Residence and the Church of the Resurrection, led by His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with concelebrants the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joachim of Helenoupolis, Hieromonks and Deacons, as well as visiting Priests.
After the Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am, the Service of the Washing of feet started at the courtyard of the Most Holy Church of the Resurrection. For this reason, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos came from St. James Church and going up on the platform washed the feet of twelve Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and Presbyters, according to the Typikon of this unique to the Church of Jerusalem Service, in memory of the event that the Lord washed the feet of His disciples before His Passion, becoming a living example of humility.
At the end of this Service, bells tolling, the Patriarchal Entourage headed for the Patriarchate amidst the noble pilgrims, where His Beatitude gave the following address:
“Initiating Thy disciples, O Lord, Thous didst teach them, saying: O friends, see that no fear separate you from Me; for though I suffer, yet it is for the sake of the world. Wherefore, be not scandalized in Me, for I am come not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give My life a ransom for the world. If then ye are My friends, imitate Me. He that would be first, let him be last; the master, as the servant. Abide in Me, that ye may bear fruit, for I am the Vine of Life” ( Holy and Great Wednesday, Matins, Apostiha. Glory..Both now).
Reverend Holy Fathers and brothers,
Noble Christians and pilgrims,
Today, on Holy and Great Thursday, the Holy Fathers who have ordained everything well, as the Synaxarion of the Church says, handed over to us four things to celebrate: The Sacred Washing of the feet, the Last Supper (meaning the tradition of the Horrendous Passion of the Lord), the ardent Prayer and the Betrayal.
Our Holy Church of Jerusalem, keeping its Apostolic tradition and custom, observed today the Sacred Washing of the feet at the Holy Courtyard of the Most Holy Church of the Resurrection, in memory of the washing of the feet of the disciples by our Saviour Jesus Christ, during the Last Supper.
By this action, that is, the washing of the feet of His disciples, Christ showed to both His disciples and us who believe in Him, the perfect way, and also the way of the salvation of our souls, the outmost humility, as St. Paul preaches: “ And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11).
The condensation of Jesus Christ to the point of the Cross and burial is an answer to the contemporary man who boasts in his arrogance. “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil” St. James the Brother of God says.
My beloved brothers, we are called by our Holy Church not to “sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thess. 5:6). Let us therefore say together with the hymn writer “O Christ God, Who didst gird Thyself with a towel and didst wash the disciples’ feet: Wash clean the thought of our soul and gird us about with a spiritual bond, that we might do Thy commandments and sing the praise of Thy goodness”, Amen, Have a Good Easter.”