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Maundy Thursday

The Thursday before Easter, so called from Christ's command (Lat. mandatum) that His disciples should love one another (John 13:34). In fourth-century Jerusalem there were special services at the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, and in North Africa an evening Eucharist commemorating the Last Supper. By the sixth century in the West, the Blessing of Oils and the Reconciliation of Penitents took place on this day, and by the Middle Ages the stripping and washing of altars and the pedilavium (foot-washing) were added. The latter ceremony was sometimes performed by sovereigns, and the modern English Royal Maundy Service is a modified survival of this. At Mass, the Kiss of Peace was omitted in commemoration of Judas's kiss.