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Washing each others' feet


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#1 Darlene Griffith

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:56 PM

Why doesn't the Orthodox Church have a service for washing each others' feet as did our Lord on the night of the last supper with His disciples? This question is from my husband and since I had no answer, what better place than Monachos to get a response?

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:01 PM

But the Orthodox Church does have a service of the washing of feet. It is a cathedral service and the ruling heirarch is the one who does the washing. The typicon places this service right after the Liturgy of the Last Supper (usually served on Thursday morning).

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#3 Darlene Griffith

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:53 PM

So would the OCA, ROCOR, GOA and other jurisdictions practice this in their cathedrals? IOW, is the service done in one particular church and is only the bishop of that jurisdiction permitted to wash the feet? Does he wash the feet of all who are present both clergy and laity?

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:02 PM

AFAIK, each bishop does this in his own cathedral. Generally there are 12 people who are chosen to be the "washees" often it is the clergy and perhaps some leading laymen of the parish. Our Lord only washed the feet of his apostles and did not then make them wash each other's feet - but rather simply said - go and do likewise (meaning to serve one another). This was an object lesson that is then repeated in the Church by the one who represents Christ (the bishop) to those who are his "chief apostles" (that would be his clergy and leading laymen). We are all then instructed to "go and do likewise".

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#5 Christina M.

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:05 PM

I have witnessed this service done in a small Greek Orthodox church, performed by the priest, with no bishop present. I thought it was a very beautiful service. It's amazing to see the priest humble himself by washing others' feet, and then to contemplate how much Christ humbled himself.

#6 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:09 PM

I have witnessed this service done in a small Greek Orthodox church, performed by the priest, with no bishop present.


Probably a difference between Greek practice and Russian practice.

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#7 Darlene Griffith

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:01 PM

I have witnessed this service done in a small Greek Orthodox church, performed by the priest, with no bishop present. I thought it was a very beautiful service. It's amazing to see the priest humble himself by washing others' feet, and then to contemplate how much Christ humbled himself.


And my next question was going to be whether or not this service could be conducted in a parish setting among the priest and laity. I know that certain Protestant groups do this such as the Mennonites.

#8 Brian Rowlands

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:27 AM

One of the most significant (and dramatic) aspects of the service is seeing the bishop standing and removing his vestments unassisted and wrapping the towel around himself, in contrast to when he is vested by the hypodeacons and deacons before the beginning of the liturgy.

#9 Nina

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:47 AM

In Albania women used to wash the feet of all guests who enter their house and the bride washed the feet of her parents in law.

#10 Paul Cowan

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 04:00 AM

in contrast to when he is vested by the hypodeacons and deacons before the beginning of the liturgy.


hypodeacons? Do you mean subdeacons?

#11 Valla Nina

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:46 PM

This service is in parishes, too, performed by the priest. My church is in the OCA.

#12 Ned Toporowski

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:30 PM

Centuries ago, the King of England used to wash poor men's feet once a year as part of Royal Maundy. In fact, even in the late 19th/early 20th century, the Austrian Emperor used to wash the feet of a group of men from a Vienna poorhouse, although I read that they were actually cleaned properly beforehand, so as not to expose the emperor to dirt. But the men would get some money from the emperor.

#13 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:32 PM

For anyone interested, here is a video of the service being served by a priest in Romania:

Some images of the service are below:
http://digital.slv.v...34237056623~538
http://3.bp.blogspot...1600-h/wf-1.jpghttp://theorthodoxch...215NOV_8296.jpg
http://www.thenation...alest_Hera4.jpg
http://cache.daylife...209gRZ/610x.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot...1600-h/wf-0.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot...00-h/610x-1.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot...DSC09924-re.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot...DSC09909-re.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot...movenie09-1.JPG
http://3.bp.blogspot...3omovenie05.JPG
http://2.bp.blogspot...90416155140.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot...90416155259.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot...90416155335.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.../s1600-h/2B.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot...600-h/3_053.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot...600-h/5_034.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot...600-h/7_023.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot...1600-h/feet.png
http://4.bp.blogspot...600-h/9_014.jpg

And here is the only rubric I could find of it online:
http://www.anastasis...of_the_feet.htm

#14 Salaam Yitbarek

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:41 PM

In the Ethiopian Church, too, the parish priest washes the feet of congregation members on Holy Thursday.

It is also a tradition for monastics to wash the feet of visitors to their monastery.

#15 Donna Rail

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

The pictures are beautiful. :)




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