Good Friday – How Anne Boleyn might have marked it and how it was commemorated in Tudor times

Posted By on April 15, 2022

Today, is Good Friday for many Christians around the world – although the new Ukrainian members of our household and my daughter-in-law mark it next week, in the Orthodox Church.

Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. Many people will be going to special church services today, or special processions (I’m going to one!), and Tudor people would have done similar. Our Tudor ancestors would attend a church ceremony known as “Creeping to the Cross”. The clergy would get down on their hands and knees and “creep” up to a crucifix held up before the altar. There, they would kiss the crucified Christ’s feet before the crucifix was taken down into the church for the parishioners to do the same.

The Easter Sepulchre would also be prepared. A stone or wooden niche would be used to represent Christ’s tomb, and it would be filled with the consecrated host and an image of Christ. A cloth would then be placed over it to seal it, like the rock that sealed Christ’s tomb, and then candles would be lit around it. Members of the church would then take turns guarding the sepulchre until Easter Sunday, just like the Roman soldiers did.

Do you do anything special for Good Friday? Here is a video of the procession I went to back in 2019:

Anne Boleyn owned a copy of William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and kept it open in her chambers for her ladies to read. I’m sure on Good Friday that she would have read the Gospel accounts of Christ’s crucifixion and reflected on them and prayed.

Click here to read more about what Anne Boleyn would have read.

Photo: Taken by Tim Ridgway at “La Semana Santa Viviente de Cuevas del Campo”, Easter 2014.

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