On Holy Wednesday, the Sacrament of Holy Unction takes place at church (for external resources on discussing the Holy Unction, please refer to the “Background” section at the end of this page).
Later in the evening, the Orthros (Matins) service usually takes place in anticipation of the following day. So the themes mentioned on Holy Wednesday evening are actually the ones relevant to Holy Thursday:
- The washing of the disciples’ feet
- The Mystical Supper
- The Marvelous Prayer
- The Betrayal
We are offering three projects: One for discussing the Sacrament of Holy Unction, and two inspired by the themes mentioned above.
Judas’ silver coins
You will need:
- Aluminum foil
- Liquid glue
- Any kind of sturdy paper
- A pencil with an eraser on the back
Place a piece of aluminum foil on the coin. Holding the aluminum foil firmly in place, rub with the pencil eraser all over the coin, so the design of the coin gets embossed on the aluminum foil. Any kind of coin will do, but coins with a pronouced design work best – in our case some fake coins we had left over from another project were the most effective ones.
Spread some glue on the back of the embossed aluminum foil piece and gently glue it on the paper. When the glue has dried, carefully cut the coin all around. Ready!
You can make a random number of coins, only three coins to symbolize Judas’ thirty ones, or even the whole amount of thirty, if you are feeling up to it. You can also cut a pouch shape out of colored paper to glue the coins on; or make a paper pouch to put them in:
… or store them in any small fabric bag you might already have at hand.
THE MYSTICAL SUPPER
Popsicle stick Orthodox-inspired scene
The Mystical Supper is such a huge topic that it would require a comprehensive teaching page all of its own. Here we are only offering a craft inspired by the Orthodox icon. Depending on the age and the interest of the children, it can include more or less detail.
Working on your Mystical Supper scene, it would be useful to be aware of the following Orthodox iconography facts, so they can be included and discussed while making the craft.
- The background of this icon usually depicts a symmetrical building with a central dome right behind our Lord, to help accenuate and differentiate Him from the disciples.
- A red canopy is hanging on top of the building, to symbolize that the event took place indoors.
- Our Lord is the only one usually shown with a halo, as the Holy Spirit hadn’t descended on the disciples yet; as always, He is wearing blue on the outside to symbolize His human nature, and red on the inside, to symbolize His Divinity.
- The table is not straight all around; it is usually curved on top, and straight on the bottom.
- On the table, we can find food, drink, and eating utensils, different variations depending on the icon. Nevertheless, there is always a piece of bread in front of each disciple.
- Philip and Thomas, the youngest two of the disciples (we can tell they are young because they have no beards), are always placed on the two lower outside edges of the table, furthest from our Lord.
- Peter is the one sitting right next to our Lord on His right-hand side.
- John is the one sitting right next to our Lord on His left-hand side. He is usually bent over onto our Lord’s chest for comfort.
- Judas Iscariot is usually placed on the left side of the table, and he is leaning forward to dip his piece of bread in the common dipping bowl at the center of the table. He is also young with no beard.
- The names of the other disciples are: Andrew; James the son of Zebedee; Bartholomew; Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot; and Jude or Thaddeus (Luke 6:12-16).
An icon example containing most of the above details follows – it can be helpful for reference.
- Popsicle sticks
- Colored paper or felt
- Glue stick
- Thin marker and/or colored pencils
Make the backdrop.
Cut pieces out of colored paper to make the basic elements of the backdrop. You can include as few or as many details as you like. We used a whole piece of blue paper for the backdrop onto which we glued a very rough background building made out of an orange piece, and a super simple canopy made out of a red piece.
Make the table.
We cut the table shape out of a brown piece of paper. On the table, we glued a small orange piece of bread for each disciple, a red jug for the wine, and a whole loaf of bread next to it so we could discuss the Holy Eucharist. We did not entirely glue the table on the background scene. Instead, we only glued the bottom and sides, so it would act as a pocket to place the figures in.
Prepare the popsicle stick figures.
We glued a halo on the figure of Jesus, and chose to color Him to make Him stand out and also to discuss the colors of His garments. We used a thin marker to draw simple faces on the disciples, and wrote the name of each on the bottom of each popsicle stick. Natalie’s son’s idea was to also add a paper arm to Judas Iscariot, so he can reach for the bread at the center of the table.
Act out your Mystical Supper icon-inspired scene!
Slip the popsicle sticks in place while discussing the details of the icon and story.
- Holy Unction, Greek Orthodox Church in America.
- Holy Unction, Orthodox Church in America.
- Holy Unction explanation for kids, Raising Orthodox Christians blog – includes a great downloadable comic strip!
- Holy Wednesday, Greek Orthodox Church in America
- Great and Holy Wednesday, Orthodox Church in America