Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday

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One of the twelve-year holidays associated with the earthly life of Christ and the Mother of God – Palm Sunday, or the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, is celebrated on April 25 by Orthodox Christians all over the world.

Last year, in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, parishioners were asked to stay at home if possible; in many churches, services were conducted without the presence of believers who could consecrate willows at home. This year the services will be held as usual.

“Everything will be as usual, without any special conditions,” TASS quotes the chairman of the information commission of the Moscow City Diocese, priest Alexander Volkov.

The holiday is dedicated to the memories of the solemn entry of Christ into Jerusalem contained in all four Gospels.

Christ rode into the city not on horseback, like a triumphant, but on a donkey, which surprised the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the pilgrims gathered to celebrate Passover (one of the main holidays of Judaism, established in memory of the biblical exodus of Jews from Egypt). The people greeted Jesus, covering the road in front of him with clothes and palm branches, with which they honored the victors and took them with them on pilgrimages. The reason for the jubilation was the miracle that Christ performed the day before, resurrecting Lazarus. Palm branches became an attribute of festive divine services among Eastern Christians and Catholics, and in Russia and some other countries they were replaced by bouquets of willow branches.

Entering the city, Christ went to the Jerusalem temple, from which he expelled the merchants, and healed all those who came to the temple, the weak and sick. The inhabitants then believed even more in him as the savior of Israel.

On the eve of the holiday on Lazarev Saturday, palm branches are consecrated in Orthodox churches. The consecrated willow is handed out to the parishioners, who hold it during the service along with candles.

In Jerusalem on this day, a procession of the cross is traditionally performed under the leadership of the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday opens the last pre-Easter week of Great Lent – Holy Week. For the church, this is a time of remembrance of the sufferings of the cross and the death of Jesus Christ. It is customary to fast during this week.

The Fund of St. Andrew the First-Called on April 20 announced that the Holy Fire from Jerusalem will be delivered to Moscow on May 1 for the Patriarchal Easter night service. This year, the bringing of the Holy Fire was organized in unprecedented conditions: due to the spread of the coronavirus, borders were closed, attendance at divine services was limited, the fund noted.

The temples, in which it will be possible to obtain a particle of the Holy Fire, will be announced additionally, added to the fund.