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.

Holy Friday is a day of mourning: Christ is taken down from the Cross and placed inside the Tomb.

Bible reading
On Holy Thursday evening, the “Twelve Gospels” are read, detailing the Holy Passion.

The parts about the Crucifixion are:
Mark 15: 21-32
Matthew 27: 35-54
Luke 23:32-49

The parts about the burial are:
John 19: 25-37
Mark 15: 43-47
John 19: 38-42
Matthew 27: 62-66

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 taped on the frame using Scotch tape (or glue dots if you have them), 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 printable packet above
  • A large piece of poster board or cardboard (a leftover cardboard box piece can be used too)
  • 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!

DIY lantern

In Greece where we come 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, so we used a regular one instead. It works, especially with a wide cup like the tumbler we used. Using a real candle is not recommended for young children, but an older one could carefully hold the lantern for a limited time. In the absence of an LED votive, 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, preferably a clear one
  • A pipe cleaner (or a piece of ribbon if pipe cleaners aren’t available)
  • Stapler or Scotch tape
  • A votive candle (LED is preferable)
  • Ribbons, and/or religious-themed stickers, and/or crosses cut out of paper, and/or other decorations.

Staple or tape the pipe cleaner on the outside of the cup. If you are stapling it, fold up the end that is protruding below the staple for sturdiness. Decorate the cup in any way you like. We used ribbon, paper crosses and gems that we had left over from another project. We decorated the lantern in purple, as it is the official Church color for days of mourning such as Holy Thursday and Friday. Insert the candle (or crumpled paper) in the cup. Ready!

Crucifixion/Resurrection double-sided poster

This project can be used from Holy Thursday to Pascha and beyond. Hang it first so the purple side is showing – turn it over when Pascha comes.

To make the banner you need to print out the relevant pages from our printable packet above. High-quality printer paper produces best results.

Tape or glue the top and bottom of each side of the banner together. Glue the two sides of the banner back-to-back. Punch a whole on the poster and thread a piece of ribbon through the hole to make a hanging loop. Ready!

Free Lesson Plan and Extra Activities

We have created a comprehensive lesson plan containing material that you can use together with the projects on this page to explore the celebrated themes more fully. Please visit our web page Four Icons for Pascha.