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Orthodox Good Friday in the United Kingdom

Many Orthodox Christian churches in the United Kingdom often observe Good Friday at a later date than the Good Friday date observed by many western churches. Good Friday focuses on Jesus Christ’s death, which is described in the Christian bible. The day is also known as Great Friday, Holy Friday, and Holy and Great Friday.

Is Orthodox Good Friday a Public Holiday?

Orthodox Good Friday is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Crucifix and Sunrise

Jesus' death on the cross is remembered on Good Friday.

©iStockphoto.com/Richard Goerg

What Do People Do?

Great Friday is traditionally a mourning and fasting day among Orthodox Christians in the United Kingdom, particularly in the Greek Orthodox churches. The day commemorates Jesus’ death by crucifixion. It is a day of serious observance that takes place prior to Easter Sunday.

Some churches, including many Romanian Orthodox churches, hold liturgies in the afternoon or evening. Some women wear black clothing and headscarves during these liturgies. Hymns are also sung and prayers are made. Some people light candles and say a prayer for both the living and the dead on this day.

Public Life

The Orthodox date for Good Friday is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. However parking conditions may be affected near churches where Great Friday liturgies are held, particularly in busy urban areas.

Background

Many Orthodox churches retained the Julian calendar after the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Europe in 1582. Therefore they often follow a different Easter date compared with many western churches. Easter holidays, such as Good Friday, are “moveable feasts” as these dates change according to calendar calculations.

There are different types of Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom, including the Greek Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Congregation numbers have grown in these churches due to immigration. Many Orthodox Christians in the United Kingdom are immigrants or descendents of immigrants from countries such as Greece, Romania and Russia. It is believed that Greek immigrants started arriving in London during the late 17th century. The United Kingdom experienced a surge of immigrants, especially from Greece and Russia, during the 20th century. They brought with them their customs, traditions, and religious observances.

Symbols

Many Orthodox Christian families prepare Easter eggs, which are beautifully decorated and often dyed red to symbolize the Jesus Christ’s blood.

About Orthodox Good Friday in other countries

Read more about Orthodox Good Friday.

Orthodox Good Friday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015FriApr 10Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2016FriApr 29Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2017FriApr 14Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2018FriApr 6Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2019FriApr 26Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2020FriApr 17Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2021FriApr 30Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2022FriApr 22Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2023FriApr 14Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2024FriMay 3Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox
2025FriApr 18Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox

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