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Palm Sunday (Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem) - Orthodox Christian.

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Time: 
Sun, 01/04/2018 (All day)
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EVERYWHERE.

1st April

Palm Sunday - Orthodox Christian

Palm Sunday, or the "Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem," as it is often called in some Orthodox Churches, is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the liturgical year. The day before Palm Sunday, Lazarus Saturday, believers often prepare palm fronds by knotting them into crosses in preparation for the procession on Sunday. The hangings and vestments in the church are changed to a festive colour—gold in the Greek tradition, and green in the Slavic tradition.

The Troparion of the Feast indicates the resurrection of Lazarus is a prefiguration of Jesus' own Resurrection:

When Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion,Thou didst confirm the resurrection of the universe.Wherefore, we like children, carry the banner of triumph and victory,and we cry to Thee, O Conqueror of love,Hosanna in the highest!Blessed is He that comethin the Name of the Lord.

In the Russian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ruthenian Catholic Church, Polish, Bavarian and Austrian Roman Catholics, and various other Eastern European peoples, the custom developed of using pussy willow instead of palm fronds because the latter are not readily available that far north. There is no canonical requirement as to what kind of branches must be used, so some Orthodox believers use olive branches. Whatever the kind, these branches are blessed and distributed together with candles either during the All-Night Vigil on the Eve of the Feast (Saturday night), or before the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.

The Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy commemorates the "Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem", so the meaningfulness of this moment is punctuated on Palm Sunday as everyone stands, holding their branches and lit candles. The faithful take these branches and candles home with them after the service, and keep them in their icon corner as an evloghia (blessing).

In Russia, donkey walk processions took place in different cities, but most importantly in Novgorod and, since 1558 until 1693, in Moscow. It was prominently featured in testimonies by foreign witnesses and mentioned in contemporary Western maps of the city. The Patriarch of Moscow, representing Christ, rode on a "donkey" (actually a horse draped in white cloth); the Tsar of Russia humbly led the procession on foot. Originally, Moscow processions began inside the Kremlin and terminated at Trinity Church, now known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, but in 1658 Patriarch Nikon reversed the order of procession. Peter I, as a part of his nationalisation of the church, terminated the custom; it has been occasionally recreated in the 21st century.

In Oriental Orthodox churches, palm fronds are distributed at the front of the church at the sanctuary steps, in India the sanctuary itself having been strewn with marigolds, and the congregation proceeds through and outside the church.

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The palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. The palm (Phoenix) was sacred in Mesopotamian religions, and in ancient Egypt represented immortality. In Judaism, a closed frond of the date palm is part of the festival of Sukkot. A palm branch was awarded to victorious athletes in ancient Greece, and a palm frond or the tree itself is one of the most common attributes of Victory personified in ancient Rome.

In Christianity, the palm branch is associated particularly with Palm Sunday, when according to Christian tradition palm branches were waved at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was adopted into Christian iconography to represent the victory of martyrs, or the victory of the spirit over the flesh.

Since a victory signals an end to a conflict or competition, the palm developed into a symbol of peace, a meaning it can have in Islam,[1] where it is often associated with Paradise.

The palm appears on several flags or seals representing countries or other places, with the coconut palm associated with the tropics.

[For more, especially some illuminating pictorial art: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_branch_(symbol].