Pastoral Message for the Triumphant Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem
Palm Sunday - April 5, 2015
"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!" (Kontakion for Palm Sunday)
We greet you with love and joy on this Palm Sunday which celebrates the Triumphant Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
The Kontakion for the feast which is quoted above expresses with great eloquence the worship and praise which are due to our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ by His children. Today He enters Jerusalem not majestically as an earthly king, but as a humble servant. He who is the mightiest King of all deigns to sit on the back of a lowly beast so that He might teach us humility. It was only yesterday that He raised Lazarus from the dead and today the people meet Him with palm branches, laying their garments on the ground before Him and exclaiming “Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord.” His time for the performing of miracles and teaching in the synagogues is completed. The time has come to confront the authorities in Jerusalem and to prepare to willingly become a sacrifice for many.
We are called today to receive our King as we celebrate this triumphant entry which is the prelude to the victories which we will witness during Holy Week; the victory of the Cross and the victory of the Empty Tomb. We are called to receive our King who is ever present in His Church and among His people, granting us hope, peace, consolation and salvation.
The great joy of this feast brings to us the transition from the struggle of the completed Great Fast to the journey through Holy Week. To those who have struggled with sincerity to this day, you are called to persevere. To those who may have come late to the struggle, there is still time.
May our journey through Holy Week uplift us spiritually and guide us to worthily experience the brightness of the Empty Tomb.
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archidiocese of North America