Prophetic lection, now obsolete, except on the Wednesday and Saturday Ember Days, Good Friday and Easter Even, and Wednesday after fourth and sixth Sundays in Lent.
In the time of Irenaeus the fast before Easter was very short, but very severe; thus some ate nothing for forty hours between the afternoon of Good Friday and the morning of Easter.
In the Roman Catholic Church the Good Friday ritual at present observed is marked by many special features, most of which can be traced back to a date at least prior to the close of the 8th century (see the Ordo Romanus in Muratori's Liturg.
The sole link with the Christian tradition is the statement that its virtue is renewed every Good Friday by the agency of a dove from heaven.
This conversion, represented as having been brought about while he was hunting on Good Friday by a miraculous appearance of a stag bearing between his horns a cross or crucifix surrounded with rays of light, has frequently been made the subject of artistic treatment.
In the Greek Church also the Good Friday fast is excessively strict; as in the Roman Church, the Passion history is read and the cross adored; towards evening a dramatic representation of the entombment takes place, amid open demonstrations of contempt for Judas and the Jews.
In 1871 a new Lectionary was substituted for the previously existing one, into the merits and demerits of which it is not possible to enter here; and in 1872, by the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act, a shortened form of service was provided instead of the present form of Morning and Evening Prayer for optional use in other than cathedral churches on all days exeept Sunday, Christmas Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Ascension Day; provision was also statutably made for the separation of services, and for additional services, to be taken, however, except so far as anthems and hymns are concerned, entirely out of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
He reached Rome on Palm Sunday (March 30), only to find his patron ill of a deadly sickness, from which he died on Good Friday (April 4).