Holy Wednesday: Passio and Veneration of the Column

Holy Wednesday at the Custody of the Holy Land starts following the morning traditions: the morning opened with a Solemn Mass at Gethsemane and the reading of the Passio Christ according to Luke.

As pre-Council tradition has it, on the days before Easter, the Gospels of the Passion are sung during the solemn masses. In Jerusalem, this tradition is alive in the places that preserve the memory of what happened more than two thousand years ago. Celebrated by the Custodial Vicar, Fr. DobromirJasztal, Holy Mass was an intense moment which reached its climax when the three deacons and the assembly kneeled towards the stone on which Jesus sweated blood and water. "We too contemplate and pray in the place where Jesus sweated blood and water and where he said his ‘yes’ to the Father,” Fr. Benito José Choque, guardian of the Gethsemane convent, concluded in his thanks, “may this liturgy spur us on to follow and love Our Lord Jesus Christ."

The mass was followed by a brief procession to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, to the sound of the batons of the Kawas, for the Veneration of the Column of the flagellation.

“Columnanobilis” is how the hymn that marks the beginning of the rite celebrates it. Guided by the Custodial Vicar Fr.Dobromir, the Franciscans sang and prayed at the station which is dedicated to the column during the daily procession to the Holy Sepulchre, to then go up to it and kiss the red porphyry, a metaphor of the love and suffering and death of Christ.
The base of the Column is today preserved in the Chapel of the Apparition, one of the properties of the Franciscans in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The pilgrim Egeria already talked about this in her diary, relating how at the time of her journey the veneration of the Column took place on Good Friday at the Cenacle, whilst today it can always be visited during the opening times of the Franciscan chapel.

Giovanni Malaspina