What Do Greeks Celebrate on Holy Wednesday?

The ceremonial traditions that Greeks carry out at the Church for Holy Wednesday are seeped stories from the Gospel of Matthew which tells the story of what took place two days before Jesus Christ was crucified.

In Greece, Church members receive Holy Unction on the evening of Holy Wednesday with an anointing oil that many people believe has therapeutic healing powers.

Sometimes in certain areas or villages, women take a large bowl of flour to the Holy Unction and place three candles in it to burn during the ceremony and the following day the same flour is used to make sweets for Easter.

According to Matthew, when Jesus was sitting at the table to eat dinner at the house of Simon the leper, a woman named Mary asked for Jesus’ forgiveness because she was a prostitute. She and anointed Jesus’ head and feet with costly spikenard oil and the disciples were indignant, asking why the oil was not sold instead of being used for this task and to then give the money to the poor.

This is when Jesus explained to his disciples that Mary had done such a ritual to prepare him for his burial. Jesus forgave her for her sins and spoke prophetically saying that her actions would be referenced in the Gospel.

It was at this time when Judas went to the Sanhedrin and made a deal to deliver Jesus to them in exchange for money.