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holy week in the catholic church

Holy Week in The Catholic Church

Holy Week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday.  It is observed in many Christian churches as a time to commemorate and enact the suffering (Passion) and death of Jesus through various observances and services of worship. While some church traditions focus specifically on the events of the last week of Jesus’ life, many of the liturgies symbolize larger themes that marked Jesus’ entire ministry. Observances during this week range from daily liturgical services in churches to informal meetings in homes to participate in a Christian version of the Passover Seder.

easter triduum
Easter Triduum

In Catholic tradition, the conclusion to the week is called the Easter Triduum (a triduum is a space of three days usually accompanying a church festival or holy days that are devoted to special prayer and observance). Some liturgical traditions, such as Lutherans, simply refer to "The Three Days."  The Easter Triduum begins Thursday evening of Holy Week with Eucharist and concludes with evening prayers Easter Sunday.

palm sunday and easter and holy week
Palm Sunday and EasterandHoly Week

It is this dimension that is well served by Holy Week observances, as they call us to move behind the joyful celebrations of Palm Sunday and Easter, and focus on the suffering, humiliation, and death that is part of Holy Week. It is important to place the hope of the Resurrection, the promise of newness and life, against the background of death and endings. It is only in walking through the shadows and darkness of Holy Week and Good Friday, only in realizing the horror and magnitude of sin and  it is consequences in the world incarnated in the dying Jesus on the cross, only in contemplating the ending and despair that the disciples felt on Holy Saturday, that we can truly understand the light and hope of Sunday morning!


The entire week between Palm Sunday and Holy Saturday is included in Holy Week, and some church traditions have daily services during the week. However, usually only Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday are times of special observance in most churches.

slovenian easter tradition
Slovenian Easter tradition


Slovenes will also decorate their homes with colorful palms for the Easter holidays. These are known as "butara," a word that literally means "bundle." They will often be blessed on Palm Sunday, and then placed in the home for the holiday.

easter eggs
  • Easter eggs from some Slovenian regions are real works of art - for example, Easter eggs from Bela Krajina and Remenke from Prekmurje. These are among the most beautiful specimens of painted eggs in Europe, and they also represent one of Slovenia's tourist attractions. Pisanice, as well as remenke, are characteristic of Eastern Slovenia. Distinctive of it are geometric and stylised shapes, while pirhi from the Coastal region and Gorenjska mainly reveal vivid ornaments copied from nature, in which plants and flowers predominate. That is why pisanice from Bela Krajina display straight, zigzag and wavy lines, crosses, spirals, triangles, hearts, circles - and dots, which fill in the empty spaces.
  • There are various ways of decorating them, and again certain regions prefer certain techniques. In the southeast and east, as well as at the coast, people will put wax on their easter eggs. After hollowing out the egg, they use candle wax to design a pattern on the shell. (In the southeast, they usually make geometric shapes: lines, circles, dots, etc.) The egg is then soaked in red dye for a few hours.
  • "Pirhi" refers generally to red-coloured eggs, although they have different names around Slovenia. In Prekmurje they are called "rumenice". In Bela Krajina and eastern Štajerska they are called "pisanice".
  • The making of "pirhi" - decorated Easter eggs - is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Slovenian folk art. The decoration of eggs has for many centuries been a display of popular imagination and creativity that is worthy of admiration. The infinite variety of patterns reflecting different Slovenian regions came about unplanned and has been passed on from one generation to the next. Slovenian "pirhi" are considered to be among the most beautiful examples of Easter eggs in Europe.
  • The most characteristic technique of making "pirhi" in this region is that of batik, which involves the use of a wax-filled wooden tool to create the desired patterns on the hollowed-out eggshell. The wax is kept in a liquid state with the help of a candle. The egg is then dipped in red dye for at least two hours so as to ensure that it is distributed equally. Dye does not take hold on the parts where wax has been applied. Once dried, another wax pattern is applied and the egg is then cooked in black dye. The eggshell is then treated in water, which is brought to boiling before being extracted carefully and dried with a cloth.
color and symbol
Color and symbol
  • Easter egg is a symbol of new life, while in Christianity it represents Christ's resurrection. Most often "pirhi" were red in colour because this colour symbolised the drops of Jesus' blood on the cross.
  • Slovenian Easter eggs will often be dyed using natural colors. Dying with tree bark provides a brown color, eggs cooked in tea end up in various shades of green, Dried blackberries make the eggs yellowish-orange, while things like hollyhock, logwood, and moss leave the eggs blue. These natural dyes take hours to do their work, and their intensity can be affected by using additional ingredients, like vinegar.
color and symbol18
Color and symbol
  • The first eggs must have been red. The red color in fact symbolises the sun, energy, blood, health, action, success and divinity. The red color is also referred to in the folk expression pirh, pertaining to the same word family as piros, meaning red in the Hungarian language, and fire in the Greek language.
  • Red is also the color of love, and according to Slovenian tradition young men got the most beautiful Easter eggs from their girlfriends, because "an Easter egg colored red - acknowledges the depth of love".
color and symbol19
Color and symbol
  • Remenka (yellow egg) is an expression of the Prekmurje dialect, where "yellow" also means red. The colourings were first of natural origin – for example, the use of onion skins has remained popular until the present times.
  • In a later period, these love gifts were accompanied by waggish inscriptions on the eggs, demonstrating the inventiveness and manual skills of Slovenes.
  • "Pisanice" from Bela Krajina are characteristically decorated with geometric motives - straight and wavy lines, circles, triangles and dots. "Pirhi" from other regions of Slovenia mostly contain plant motives.
  • The oldest preserved Slovenian pisanice are from Bela Krajina, a region in the south-eastern part of Slovenia. The word pisanica was first mentioned already in 1832, originating from the word "pisa" meaning a line. In fact, eggs from Bela Krajina are not only coloured, they are also painted, because the motifs are elaborated with the help of a special pencil, the pisalka, which is basically a hollow
  • stick for applying wax. People from Bela Krajina, who have preserved their tradition to the present times, decorate eggs with two different techniques, which have developed through the centuries.
  • The oldest is a technique called batik, for which red and black colour are needed as well as wax. The mystery of this technique lies in the exact order of colouring: half of the pattern is painted in wax on the egg which has not been coloured yet, then the egg is dipped into red colour. The other half of the pattern is once more applied in wax on the eggshell already coloured in red; finally the egg is plunged into black colour. When the procedure is finished and the wax is removed, the egg is tricoloured: black, red and light brown or white, depending on the natural egg colour.
pisanice drsanke
  • The second method, the drsanka technique. "Drsanke" are full of field flowers and corncob motives. They are drawn with a small knife. The colour is removed from the parts where the knife is used to draw a line, meaning that the eggs are first treated in dye and then carved. The shell is then introduced into a container with cooked onion leaves. We get the colour by cooking a litre of water, a handful of red onion leaves and a spoon of apple cider. Some more onion leaves are added at the end to increase the intensity of the colour. We dip the eggs into the cold dye, adding a spoon of cider, which aids the absorption process of the dye, and then we heat the dye and let it boil for an hour. The eggshells are then collected from the dye, dried and left to cool.
  • The Slovenian family has been involved with this folk tradition for over 100 years. This skill of Bela Krajina - the styled decoration of Easter eggs - has fortunately been passed down from one generation to the next. However, it has not only been kept in this region, since our family has married into households of other regions and subsequently took the knowledge with them. They can says with great satisfaction that the young generations.
color and symbol25
Color and symbol
  • They are accompanied by Christian symbols: the monogram of Christ and Mary (IHS and MARIA) and the Cross. Easter eggs from Western Slovenia are ornamented with clover, daisy, pine, trees and birds.
  • These eggs have inscribed wishes, such as Aleluja (Alleluia), Vesela velika noč (Happy Easter) or Vesel vuzem (the meaning is the same, vuzem is a dialect word for Easter).
  • A typical Easter meal in Slovenia includes ham, horseradish, bread and a special type of nut cake called "potica." Easter eggs are also included, of course, but will look different depending on what part of the country you're enjoying your meal.
  • Holy Week follows and women get into the full swing of Easter – they clean up the house, dig out horseradish, make potica (rolled cake with walnuts, raisins and cottage cheese), cook cured ham and eggs.
holy thursday

To promise of mass repetition in St. Nicolaus in Ljubljana

holy friday
  • This day is remember Christ death. The start of the vigil at symbolic tombs of Christ, which last until Holy Saturday. Visits are made to “tombs of Christ’. The adoration of the Good Friday tombs is called “the visitation of the tombs'.
  • The bells are not ringing.
holy friday32

Jesus slippinng in the tombs

holy saturday33
  • Many Slovenians take the pirhi to their local church to be blessed.
  • The art of pirhi On Saturday, women carry beautiful baskets (jerbas) with embroidered tablecloths and filled with potica (representing Christ’s crown of thorns), horseradish (representing the nails in Christ’s hands) and cured ham (representing the body of Christ) to church to receive Easter blessing. Each basket contains “pirhi” (decorated Easter eggs), which are a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection, repeatedly creation and hope, shelter and security. Usually pirhi are red to symbolise the drops of Jesus’ blood on the cross.
  • Small baskets (jerbas) with East meal to cary the oldest unmarried daughter.
  • In my church have a blessing fair for Tree fungus, before we to carry home.Holy Saturday on 20h services accompanied by processions are held to commemorate the Resurrection.
holy saturday34

Blessing of faire

holy saturday35

Baskets (jerbas) to be blessed


Easter procession


The first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox is Easter Sunday.

The Easter feast On Saturday evening, bonfires are lit on the hills to the great delight of children who can stay up late. The bonfires signify anticipation of Christ’s triumph over death, which supposedly occurred on the third day after his death by crucifixion.

On Easter morning, families go to their local church and join the festive Resurrection procession around the church building. Following the myrrh-laden festal mass and the singing of numerous Hallelujahs, the family gathers around the table for the traditional Easter breakfast. Blessed food – potica, cured ham, horseradish, Easter eggs, white bread with raisins and wine – is served and no one is allowed to be absent from the table. Even the animals are given blessed bread to eat. Work is strictly forbidden. It is only natural that after a day of enjoying such heavy delicacies.


Easter breakfast


Slovenian Easter meets

easter games

explore one’s painting skills - on eggs.

easter monday
  • People are allowed to rest on Easter Monday or visit their friends and relatives. Today is one traditional games, explore one’s painting skills - on eggs.
  • Pirhi are usually given to children by their godfathers, but the most beautiful examples are given to boys from their sweethearts.
the end

St. Cyril and Method

Slowans missionnars

Writting : Potočnik Lojze 3. letnik VSS