An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Washing of the Altar

It is customary for the altar to be stripped after the Maundy Thursday liturgy. The BOS appoints Ps 22 and an antiphon for use if the stripping of the altar is observed as a public ceremony. Stripping the altar may be followed by the washing of the altar. Historically, the stripping and washing of altars took place on Good Friday in Gallican churches, and on Maundy Thursday in Rome. Neither the stripping nor the washing of the altar is mentioned by the BCP. The washing of the altar is also not mentioned by the BOS.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.