The Way of the Cross

Another Faithful Woman

The origins of Holy Week are traced back to Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem in the 4th century. Pilgrims pouring into Jerusalem to be baptized Easter morning, followed Cyril around to the various sites significant to the events of Jesus’ last days on earth: the “Upper Room” where he had his last meal; the “Via Dolorosa,” where he struggled to carry his cross; and the hill at Golgatha where they crucified him.  Fortunately for us, these 4th century walking “liturgies” were recorded by one of those early pilgrims, a Gallic woman named Egeria. Eventually these early liturgies became our Prayer Book liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter: sometimes called “The Triduum” (three days).

Egeria wrote an account of her Holy Week experience in Jerusalem in a long letter to her Christian women friends back home in Europe, who had never heard of these traditions. It is thought her letter might be the very first formal writing by a woman in the history of the world.

God bless Egeria, and all the pilgrims who walked with Cyril through Holy Week, marking it in time and recording it. Because of their faithfulness, we are able to follow Jesus’ last earthly journey to this day. If you have never walked this sacred walk I hope you will make time in your busy lives next week for the very special services of Holy Week!

Faithfully, Mother Candace+

 

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