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Good Friday - April 18, 2014
Good Friday is a holy day celebrated by most Christians on the Friday before Easter or Pascha. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. Special prayer services are often held on this day with readings from the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to the crucifixion. Mainstream Christian churches view Christ's crucifixion as a voluntary and vicarious act, and one by which, along with Death and resurrection on the third day, death itself was conquered.
In Israel, Jesus' birthplace, it is known as "Big Friday." In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria (and Eastern Orthodox Church in general) the day is called Great Friday.
In Latin America and Portugal the day is called the "Holy Friday" and in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Faroe Islands and Iceland the day is called "The Long Friday"
Jesus' possible death date
As a matter of historical fact, the date of Christ's death is unknown and cannot be calculated from the information in the Gospels. The Gospels indicate he died on the afternoon of 15 Nisan (the day of the Passover, ) - or, alternatively, on the day before; but no year is given, except that it was during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (AD 14-37). According to all four Gospels (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31) Jesus died on Preparation Day (the day before the Sabbath), which would make it a Friday.
Thus, the question is fully relegated to theological speculation, under which it is believed the Crucifixion occurred on a Friday in April or March. One possible date is 3 April AD 33. A partial lunar eclipse also took place on this date, which some have argued corresponds to the "darkness" mentioned in Matthew 27:45. John P. Meier's ''A Marginal Jew'' notes 7 April 30, 3 April 33, and 30 March 36, as possible Friday 14 Nisan dates during the rule of Pilate.
In Western Christianity the earliest possible date for Good Friday is March 20 and the latest possible date is April 23. The latest possible date for Great Friday in Eastern Orthodoxy is May 7.
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