Maundy - History and Facts
The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. The commandment, or mandatum, 'that ye love one another' (John XIII 34) is still recalled regularly by Christian churches throughout the world.
The word 'Maundy' comes from the Latin word for commandment, mandatum. This is a special day for Christians. It is the day when they remember the Last Supper, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane and the arrest and trial of Jesus. The Last Supper is a key event for Christians. It was at this Last Supper which Jesus shared with his friends that he changed the words of the traditional Passover meal and commanded his followers to break and eat bread and drink wine in his memory. Christians throughout the world continue to do this. This act of remembrance is known as the Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass or The Lord's Supper.
The tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the 13th century. The Sovereign also used to give food and clothing (later changed to a gift of money), and even washed the recipients' feet - this varied from Sovereign to Sovereign, the last Monarch to do so was James II.
The number of recipients is related to the Sovereign's age: in 2003, there were 77 male and 77 female recipients at Westminster Abbey for the Maundy Service attended by The Queen.
The Royal Maundy Service used to take place in London; The Queen decided that the service should take place at a different cathedral every year, chosen from throughout the country. The Queen has distributed Maundy on all but four occasions since coming to the throne in 1952.
The Royal Maundy Service in 2004 will take place on 8 April in Liverpool Cathedral.
Source: http://www.royal.gov.uk/ You can also find all the venues for previous Maundy Money services at the official website of the British Monarchy.
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