Palm Sunday Morning
Significance of this Service
"Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord..."
(Palm Sunday service is held in the morning and consists of Matins [Morning Prayers] and the DivineLiturgy.)
Palm Sunday celebrates the glorious and brilliant feast of the Entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Zechariah had prophesied the entrance of the Messiah into Jerusalem, saying: "Rejoice greatly...O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King comes unto Thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zech. 9:9) The contemporary Jews associated this prophecy with the expected Messiah. This action of Christ testifies to His nature as Savior, but with the definite declaration that His Kingdom was not of this world. The news that Christ was in Bethany provoked a general enthusiasm of acceptance, but also of indignation among the High Priests, who had decided to kill Christ. The main road leading to Jerusalem was covered with palm trees. The multitudes, with palm branches in their hands, spread their cloaks on the road as a show of respect, crying out, "Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.' All the actions and words of the people and of Christ had a Messianic meaning readily recognized by the Jews of that time. As usual, Christ went immediately to the Temple, where He prayed and taught. That evening He departed for Bethany.
A custom of distributing branches of palms to the people in the Church prevails to this day, commemorating the victory of Christ against the evil powers.
The Epistle reading is Phil. 4:4-9, and the Gospel reading is John 12:1-18.