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Palm Sunday ( 'The Sunday of the Passion',) - [Western] Christian.

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Time: 
Sun, 25/03/2018 (All day)
Location: 
EVERYWHERE.

 25th March.

Palm Sunday.

In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place about a week before his Resurrection [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]. 

Christian theologians believe that the symbolism is captured prophetically in the Old Testament: Zechariah 9:9 “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”.  It suggests that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin. 

According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks and small branches of trees in front of him, and sang part of Psalm 118: 25–26 –.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  We bless you from the house of the Lord.  [2] [4] [5] [6]. 

The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war [1] A king would have ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace.  Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king [1] [2]. 

“Flevit super illam” (He wept over it); by Enrique Simonet, 1892. 

In Luke 19:41 as Jesus approaches Jerusalem, he looks at the city and weeps over it (an event known as Flevit super illam in Latin), foretelling the suffering that awaits the city in the events of the destruction of the Second Temple. 

In many lands in the ancient Near East, it was customary to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honour.  The Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 9:13) reports that Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated this way.  Both the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John report that people gave Jesus this form of honour.  In the synoptics the people are described as laying their garments and cut rushes on the street, whereas John specifies fronds of palm (Greek phoinix).  In Jewish tradition, the palm is one of the Four Species carried for Sukkot, as prescribed for rejoicing at Leviticus 23:40. 

In the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, which strongly influenced Christian tradition, the palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory.  It became the most common attribute of the goddess Nike or Victory [9] For contemporary Roman observers, the procession would have evoked the Roman triumph, [10] when the triumphator laid down his arms and wore the toga, the civilian garment of peace that might be ornamented with emblems of the palm [11] Although the Epistles of Paul refer to Jesus as “triumphing”, the entry into Jerusalem may not have been regularly pictured as a triumphal procession in this sense before the 13th century [12] In ancient Egyptian religion, the palm was carried in funeral processions and represented eternal life.  The palm branch later was used as a symbol of Christian martyrs and their spiritual victory or triumph over death [13] In Revelation 7:9, the white-clad multitude stand before the throne and Lamb holding palm branches.  God said “we shall call this day palm Sunday for it is the day of passion” 

Observance in the liturgy [edit]. 

Eastern and Oriental Christianity [edit]. 

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: 

O Christ our GodWhen 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. 

The Palm Sunday in Eastern and Oriental Christianity 

The congregation in an Oriental Orthodox church in India collects palm fronds for the Palm Sunday procession (the men of the congregation on the left of the sanctuary in the photo; the women of the congregation are collecting their fronds on the right of the sanctuary, outside the photo). 

Western Christianity [edit]. 

In ancient times, palm branches symbolized goodness and victory.  They were often depicted on coins and important buildings.  Solomon had palm branches carved into the walls and doors of the temple (1 Kings 6:29).  Again at the end of the Bible, people from every nation raise palm branches to honor Jesus (Revelation 7:9). 

Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday.  It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent. 

In the Roman Catholic Church, as well as among many Anglican and Lutheran congregations, palm fronds (or in colder climates some kind of substitutes) are blessed with an aspergillum outside the church building in an event called the “blessing of palms”if using palm leaves (or in cold climates in the narthex when Easter falls early in the year).  A solemn procession also takes place, and may include the normal liturgical procession of clergy and acolytes, the parish choir, or the entire congregation. 

In the Catholic Church, this Feast now coincides with that of Passion Sunday, which is the focus of the Mass which follows the service of the blessing of palms.  The palms are saved in many churches to be burned on Shrove Tuesday the following year to make ashes used in Ash Wednesday services.  The Catholic Church considers the blessed palms to be sacramentals.  The vestments for the day are deep scarlet red, the colour of blood, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering the city to fulfill: his Passion and Resurrection in Jerusalem. 

Blessing of palms outside an Episcopal Church in the United States. 

In the Episcopal and many other Anglican churches and in Lutheran churches, as well, the day is nowadays officially called “The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday”; in practice, though, it is usually termed “Palm Sunday”as in the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer and in earlier Lutheran liturgies and calendars, to avoid undue confusion with the penultimate Sunday of Lent in the traditional calendar, which was “Passion Sunday”. 

In the Church of Pakistan (a member of the Anglican Communion), the faithful on Palm Sunday carry palm branches into the church as they sing Psalm 24. 

In many Protestant churches, children are given palms, and then walk in procession around the inside of the church while the adults remain seated [citation needed]. 

Related [show]. 

It is customary in many churches for worshippers to receive fresh palm leaves on Palm Sunday.  In parts of the world where this has historically been impractical, substitute traditions have arisen. 

Bulgaria [edit]. 

In Bulgaria, Palm Sunday is known as Tsvetnitsa (tsvete, “flower”) or Vrabnitsa (varba, “willow”), or Flower’s Day.  People with flower-related names (e.g., Lilia, Margarita, Nevena, Ralitsa, Rosa, Temenuzhka, Tsvetan, Tsvetana, Tsvetelin, Tsvetelina, Tsvetko, Violeta, Yavor, Zdravko, Zjumbjul, etc.) celebrate this day as their name day [citation needed]. 

In the 15th through the 17th centuries in England, Palm Sunday was frequently marked by the burning of Jack-’o’-Lent figures.  This was a straw effigy which would be stoned and abused on Ash Wednesday, and kept in the parish for burning on Palm Sunday.  The symbolism was believed to be a kind of revenge on Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Christ.  The effigy could also have represented the hated figure of Winter, whose destruction prepares the way for Spring [14]. 

Finland [edit]. 

In Finland, it is popular for children to dress up as Easter witches and go door to door in neighborhoods for coins and candy.  This is an old Karelian custom called Virpominen. 

India [edit]. 

Flowers (in this instance marigolds) strewn about the sanctuary in an Oriental Orthodox church in Mumbai, India on Palm Sunday. 

In the South Indian state of Kerala (and in Indian Orthodox, Church of South India (CSI), Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobite) congregations elsewhere in India and throughout the West), flowers are strewn about the sanctuary on Palm Sunday during the reading of the Gospel, at the words uttered by the crowd welcoming Jesus, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who is come and is to come in the name of the Lord God”. 

These words are read to the congregation thrice.  The congregation then repeats, “Hosanna!”, and the flowers are scattered.  This is adapted from the older Hindu custom of scattering flowers on festive occasions, as well as the honour shown to Jesus upon his entry into Jerusalem. 

Indian Orthodoxy traces its roots to the arrival in India of Saint Thomas the Apostle (traditionally dated to AD 52) and his evangelism among both the Brahmans of the Malabar Coast and the ancient Jewish community there.  Its rites and ceremonies are both Hindu and Jewish, as well as Levantine Christian, in origin.  In Syro-Malabar Catholic Church’s palm leaves are blessed during Palm Sunday ceremony and a Procession takes place holding the palms [15]. 

Lithuania [edit]. 

When Christianity came to Lithuania, the plants which sprouted earliest were honored during spring Feasts.  The name “Palm Sunday”is a misnomer; the “verba”or “dwarfed spuce”is used instead.  According to tradition, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday the Lithuanians take special care in choosing and cutting well-formed branches, which the women-folk decorate with flowers.  The flowers are meticulously tied onto the branches, making the “Verba” [citation needed]. 

The Levant [edit]. 

In Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, Palm Sunday (Shaa’nineh in Arabic) Is perhaps the best-attended service in the Christian Calendar, among the Orthodox, Catholic (Latin Church and Eastern Catholic Churches), and Anglican Churches, perhaps because it is notably a family occasion [citation needed] On this day, children attend church with branches from olive and palm trees.  Also, there will be carefully woven crosses and other symbols made from palm fronds and roses and a procession at the beginning of the service, during which at some point, the priest will take an olive branch and splash holy water on the faithful [citation needed]. 

Once blessed, the palaspás are brought home and placed on altars, or hung near or above doorways and windows.  The Church teaches that this is meant to welcome Christ, but many Filipinos believe blessed palaspás to be apotropaic, deterring evil spirits, lightning, and fires.  Another folk custom is to feed pieces of blessed palaspás to roosters used in sabong (cockfighting); this was strongly discouraged by the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle [citation needed]. 

Romania and Moldova [edit].  .

 

 

 

 

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