Saturday, April 7, 2012

Palm Sunday

For our friends on the Gregorian calendar who are unaware of the difference between the Gregorian calendar in predominate use in the Christian West and the Julian calendar in predominate use in the Christian East, please do not be alarmed.  You have not opened a seam in the space-time continuum.  You have not entered the Matrix.  You are simply on a different calendar than we are.  So it is that as you all celebrate our Lord's resurrection for the festival of Easter, we are just now celebrating our Lord's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

This is one of the greater festivals on the Orthodox calendar, and while it shares the sense of foreboding and anticipation and darkness of the same feast on the Gregorian calendar, in the Orthodox Church we already have another anticipation, in that we just celebrated Lazarus Saturday.  Lazaraus is a prefiguring of Christ's own resurrection -- it is a reminder to us that the dark and dread of Holy Week will end in triumph.

As we enter the most Holy Week of the Christian calendar, we shout with the children of Jerusalem, "Hosanna!  Hosanna in the highest!  Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord!"  We wave palm branches and venerate Christ our God, Who is about to enter His passion, death and ultimately His resurrection.  And we anticipate the imminent joy of Holy Pascha.

Troparion (Tone 1) 
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!
Troparion (Tone 4)
When we were buried with You in Baptism, O Christ God,
We were made worthy of eternal life by Your Resurrection!
Now we praise You and sing:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!
Kontakion (Tone 6)
Sitting on Your throne in heaven,
Carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God!
Accept the praise of angels and the songs of children who sing:
Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam!

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