Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrating Palm Sunday

April 13, 2009 11:33 pm 

MOSCOW, April 12 — Eastern Orthodox Christians are marking the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, more commonly known as Palm Sunday across the Christian world and alternatively called Pussy Willow Sunday in Russia where palms have traditionally been a rarity.

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill (Cyril) is expected to lead a divine liturgy in Moscow’s downtown Cathedral of the Savior.

This feast recalls an event of about 2,000 years ago when crowds of people in Jerusalem went out to meet Jesus heading towards the city. They held palm branches in their hands and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!”

In Russia, palms branches are substituted for by pussy willow that usually unfolds by this time in April.

Some Eastern Orthodox community have been keeping to this day the tradition of marking Palm Sunday with cross-bearing processions, in which parents with babies come.

A procession of this kind will be held Sunday on the compound of the mission of Antioch Church in Moscow.

In Jerusalem, a majestic cross-bearing procession will be led by the Patriarch of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church. Israeli police will block traffic on the roads along which the believers will move.

Believers carrying icons in their hands will meet the Patriarch in Bethphage, where from Jesus began His glorious entry into the Holy City.

Then the procession will move along the route that Jesus covered before entering the city – from the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane to the Old City and to the Church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

The route has changed somewhat from Biblical times, though, as the Golden Gate, which Jesus entered the city through, was bricked up back in the Middle Ages and the Catholic church of Jesus’s Lamentation stands at the site where Jesus lamented the future plight of Jerusalem.

The newest feature of all standing right on the way to Bethany where Jesus went after the entry into Jerusalem is the eight-meters-tall concrete wall separating the Israeli and Palestinian territories. (PNA/Itar-Tass)



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