Abu Dhabi: As Christians mark the Holy Week, it reminds worshippers to practice Christ’s teachings to create a peaceful and better world, parish priests in the capital told Gulf News on Thursday.
“The occasion reminds us of Christ’s teachings to love our enemies and get rid of hatred from our heart. If we adopt these qualities, there will be peace in the world,” said Father M.C Mathai Maracheril, Vicar of St. George Orthodox Cathedral Abu Dhabi.
Holy Week commemorates the final week of Jesus Christ’s life. Christians observe the sufferings of Christ during the week.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which continues until Easter Sunday. Maundy Thursday commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with the apostles. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday, which reminds humanity that hope comes after suffering.
Father Maracheril said believers should remember what Christ said from the cross about those who crucified him: “Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
The Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson, senior chaplain at St Andrew’s Church in Abu Dhabi, said there have been “bad and dark news” in recent months from Syria, Yemen and across the region. Good Friday symbolizes such darkness but Easter brings hope and celebration. “People must focus on how to make a better world; not to dwell on bad news,” the Reverend Thompson said.
Churches in the capital have started receiving hundreds of worshippers since Thursday evening. Most of the churches have day-long prayers on Friday.
St Andrews Church hosts around 20,000 people from different congregations on the special occasion.
At St George Orthodox Cathedral, a visiting bishop from India conducted feat washing service on Thursday evening in the presence of around three thousand worshippers. The Bishop of Nilackal Diocese in Kerala in India Joshua Mar Nichodimos washed the feat of priests and altar assistants. It symbolises the Jesus washing the feat of his disciples, Father Maracheril said. “We expect around 7,000 (seven thousand) worshippers for Good Friday,” he said.
The worshippers who have observed a 50-day period of abstinence had dedicated more time for prayers during the week.
At Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi hundreds of believers from 30 congregations will attend services at the church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some of the congregations will conduct special prayers of Easter on Saturday for the convenience of worshippers because Sunday is a working day in the UAE.
Along with prayers, believers have started their preparations to celebrate Easter Sunday. Stores across the country have attractive Easter displays, including Easter eggs, which are a symbol of new life.