Holy Thursday and Friday: Creative Projects

At church, on Holy Thursday evening, the Orthros (Matins) service usually takes place in anticipation of the following day. So the theme mentioned on Holy Thursday evening is actually the one relevant to Holy Friday, and it is the Holy Passion of Christ. There are specific icon types associated with the Holy Passion, and we are briefly discussing them HERE.

Holy Friday is a day of mourning: Christ is taken down from the Cross and placed inside the Tomb. All of creation is lamenting for the deceased Christ. We are summarizing some information on the icons and services of the day HERE.


HOLY THURSDAY: THE HOLY PASSION

Flower-framed Crucifixion icon

Icon by Athanasios Clark, tomclarkicons.com. Used with permission from the Department of Religious Education, Greek Orthodox Church in America.

This project may look complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. The flower-making is done in batches and if you make large flowers, then you don’t need to make that many. They are attached to the frame using tape (double-sided works best), so there is no need to wait for any glue to dry – and there is also no mess!

You will need:

  • A printout of the Crucifixion icon from our Holy Week crafting printable packet
  • A large piece of poster board or cardboard (a cardboard box piece works fine)
  • Tissue paper (or even paper napkins if tissue paper is unavailable) to make the flowers

How to make the flowers

Make the flower petal circles

Start with a full sheet of tissue paper. You can stack a few sheets of tissue paper together to make more flowers at the same time. First fold the paper in half. Then fold in half again.

Fold the bottom corner up diagonally to make a triangle. Depending on the original size of your paper, there may or may not be a rectangle protruding at the top edge of the triangle. If there is a rectangle, cut it off so that only the triangle remains.

Fold the triangle in half to make a smaller triangle. Fold in half one more time.

Hold the triangle from the corner and cut off a scalloped design on the free edge.

Unfold the triangle, and your flower petal circles are ready.

Make the leaves

Start with a full sheet of tissue paper. You can stack a few sheets of tissue paper together to make more leaves at the same time. Fold the paper a few times. Hold the folded paper firmly and cut out the leaves all at once.

Assemble the flowers

Take one or two flower petal circles. Loosely fold in half, then in half again.

Place one or two leaves between the flower petals.

Twist and crimp the paper at the corner to hold everything in place. Open up the petals pressing down at the center with your fingers and your flower is ready!

How to make the icon

The size of the poster board or cardboard has to be larger than the icon, so when the icon is placed on it, there is a generous frame all around. Glue the icon on the poster board or cardboard. Then tape the flowers on the frame.

Ready!

ALTERNATIVE FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

Making the flowers may be too complicated for younger children. You can still make a pretty, flowery-looking frame just by gluing plain pieces of tissue paper all around the image instead.

In our Holy Week Craft Kit, we are offering a child-friendly printed scene based on the icon of the Extreme Humility for making this craft.


HOLY FRIDAY: THE EPITAPHIOS

DIY lantern

In Greece where we originate from, it is customary for young children to carry a lantern instead of a candle during the Epitaphios procession on Holy Friday evening. Below is a simple way to make a small lantern at home. It is best to use an LED votive candle, so that the child can safely hold the lantern and freely move around.

We didn’t have an LED votive candle available when taking the photos, so we lit a regular one instead. It works, especially with a wide-mouthed cup like the tumbler we used. If you try to use a real votive candle, it is recommended to do so under careful adult supervision, only for a limited time, and while the lantern is safely placed somewhere where the children can see but not reach it.

In the absence of an LED votive candle, another option would be to use a piece of crumpled yellow and red paper to pretend there is a fire lighting inside the lantern.

You will need:

  • A plastic cup (a wide-mouthed tumbler works best)
  • One pipe cleaner, preferably purple
  • A piece of ribbon, preferably purple, about 24″ long
  • Decorations of your choice such as sequins, glitter, stickers etc. You can also use the decorative templates provided in our Holy Week crafting printable packet.

Staple or tape the pipe cleaner on the outside of the cup. For sturdiness, fold up the end that is protruding below the staple or tape. Decorate the cup in any way you like, keeping in mind that the official Church color of the day is purple, the color associated with mourning. We used ribbon bows, paper crosses and gems. Insert the candle (or crumpled paper) in the cup.

Ready!

In our Holy Week Craft Kit, we are offering a printed template for making the lantern that is inspired by the Sepulcher.


Lesson Plans and Extra Resources

Don’t miss our extensive collection of Holy Week teaching material, both for digital and in-person learning.