Good Friday

Definition and Etymology

Good Friday, called Feria VI in Parasceve in the Roman Missal, he hagia kai megale paraskeue (the Holy and Great Friday) in the Greek Liturgy, Holy Friday in Romance Languages, Charfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German, is the English designation of Friday in Holy Week — that is, the Friday on which the Church keeps the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Parasceve, the Latin equivalent of paraskeue, preparation (i.e. the preparation that was made on the sixth day for the Sabbath; see Mark 15:42), came by metonymy to signify the day on which the preparation was made; but while the Greeks retained this use of the word as applied to every Friday, the Latins confined its application to one Friday. Irenaeus and Tertullian speak of Good Friday as the day of the Pasch; but later writers distinguish between the Pascha staurosimon (the passage to death), and the Pascha anastasimon (the passage to life, i.e. the Resurrection). At present the word Pasch is used exclusively in the latter sense. The two Paschs are the oldest feasts in the calendar.

From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day; and the obvious reasons for those usages explain why Easter is the Sunday par excellence, and why the Friday which marks the anniversary of Christ’s death came to be called the Great or the Holy or the Good Friday. The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from “God’s Friday” (Gottes Freitag); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag, and not specially English. Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark.

adapted from: New Advent

 
 

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