Syriac Orthodox Patriarch leads foot-washing service on Holy Thursday in Syria

ZALIN and HOLEB, Syria — On Thursday, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Thursday service at the Church of Mor Jirjis in the Syriac Hay al-Syrian neighborhood of Holeb (Aleppo), Syria.

During the service, the Patriarch called upon 12 of the sons of the deacons of the Archdiocese of Holeb, representing the 12 disciples of Christ, to participate in a foot-washing ceremony, following the example of what Jesus Christ did for his disciples.

Father Habib Issa, priest of Mor Aphrem Church in Zalin (Qamishli), North and East Syria, spoke to Suroyo TV about the significance of the foot-washing service.

Father Issa emphasized that the act of foot-washing represents humility, which is a fundamental tenet of Christianity.

Foot washing is a ritual that takes place on Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday in the Christian faith. This ritual is a reenactment of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper, as recounted in the Bible in John 13:1-17.

The significance of foot washing on Holy Thursday is to symbolize the humility and servant leadership that Jesus demonstrated by washing his disciples’ feet. It serves as a reminder for Christians to follow Jesus’ example of serving others with humility and selflessness, even if it means performing tasks that are typically considered beneath them.

By washing each other’s feet, Christians are also reminded of the importance of love and compassion for one another. The act of foot washing is a tangible expression of love and service, which helps to foster a sense of community and unity within the Church.

In some Christian traditions, foot washing is a part of the Maundy Thursday liturgy, which also includes the celebration of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist.