Washing of the Feet Service
At the last supper the Lord and Savior of us all got down and washed the dirty feet of each of his disciples. Imagine what your feet would look like if you traveled all over the desert of the Holy Land in nothing but sandals. Because people’s feet get so dirty, the foot is still seen as a way to show disrespect in the Middle East. The throwing of a shoe is a terrible insult.
Yet Christ washed them. Not just Peter’s feet, but all of the disciples feet. It was a great act of humility and a grand example of how we are to serve our brethren.
In some Orthodox churches you may have the privilage to see the service of the washing of the feet. The service can only be done with a Bishop or monastery Abbot, as they represent Christ and serve as our guide and shephard to each of our parishes, and ultimately, each of us individuals.
Either after bridegroom matins Wednesday night or Liturgy Thursday morning, the Bishop will then wash the feet of 12 men. The washing of the feet occurs while the gospel account of Christ washing the feet of his disciples is read. In our churches often times these are men from parish council, archons or exemplary young men from the diocese. It is a blessing to be selected for this group.
Having watched a loved one go through this experience, all I can say is that it was incredibly moving.
In the darkened church 2 rows of men aged between 18-45 sat in 12 chairs on the solea. Our elderly bishop, who’s health has begun to fail him, kneels on the ground with a bowl of water and washes the feet of my young and healthy brother. My brother has grown up with our bishop his whole life. He has served alongside our bishop and learned much from him. I then thought to myself that if seeing our bishop moved me so much, how much more so would the disciples have been when Christ washed their own feet. How moved should we be when we hear the story! What an example this serves to how we are to live out our lives with everyone we meet!