Good Friday

The title used in many English-speaking countries for the day on which Christ's death is particularly remembered. In other countries it was known as Long Friday, Day of Preparation, Day of the Lord's Passion, and the Passion of the Cross. It is called “Good” because of the benefits which flow from what the day commemorates. It came to be observed as a result of the development of the calendar in the fourth century. In the Pilgrimage of Etheria* is a first-hand account of the ceremonies practiced in Jerusalem at the end of the fourth century, with a description of the veneration of the Cross which still continues in the Roman rite. Popularly known as “creeping to the Cross,” this was condemned by the Reformers. Holy Communion was not usually celebrated on Good Friday. When weekday masses began in the sixth and seventh centuries, Friday was already a special fast day with Bible readings and prayers, and this tradition was left undisturbed.

The Reformers provided in the Book of Common Prayer an Epistle and Gospel for Good Friday, and in England there is some evidence that up to and including Queen Victoria's reign some churches held Communion on Good Friday, though generally it has dropped out. In its place normally is a devotional service based on the Seven Words from the Cross.