My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Glory be to God!
The solemnities of Great and Holy Week are preceded by a two-day festival commemorating the resurrection of Lazaros the friend of Christ, and the triumphant entry of Christ into the holy city of Jerusalem. These two events punctuate Christ's Ministry in a most dramatic way (St. John 11:1-12, 19). By causing the final eruption of the unrelenting hostility of His enemies, who had been plotting to kill him, these two events precipitate Christ's death. At the very same time, however, these same events emphasize His Divine Authority. Through them our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is revealed as the Source of Life and the Promised Messiah. For this reason, the interlude which separates Great and Holy Week from the Great Fast is Paschal in character. It is the forerunner of Christ's victory over death and of the inrush of His Kingdom into the life of the world.
The Saturday of Lazaros is counted among the Major Feasts of the Orthodox Church. It is celebrated with great reverence and joy. The event of the raising of Lazaros is recorded in the Gospel of Saint John (11:1-45). The hymnography of the feast interprets the theological significance of the event. Accordingly, the resurrection of Lazaros is viewed as the prophecy in action. It prefigures both the resurrection of Christ Our Lord, as well as the General resurrection of all the dead in the end times. Thy hymns of the feast also emphasize the Biblical Truth that the resurrection as such, is more than an event. It is a Person, Christ Himself, Who bestows eternal life now upon all who believe in Him, and not at some obscure future time (St. John 11:25-26).
In addition, the resurrection of Lazaros occasioned the disclosure of Christ's two natures, the divine and the human. He manifested His Divine power by His foreknowledge of the death of Lazaros and by the final outcome, the miracle of his resurrection. Also, in the course of the dramatic events Jesus Christ displayed deep human emotions. The Gospel records His deep feelings of love, tenderness, sympathy and compassion, as well as distress and sadness. The narrative reports that He sighed from the heart and wept (Saint John 11:5, 33, 36, 38).
TEACHING OUR PARISH CHILDREN OUR ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN TRADITION
Immediately following the Divine Liturgy parents, Church School Teachers and all the children present will gather in foyer where they will be taught how to make palm-crosses by the adults. All the crosses made will be distributed to our faithful on Palm Sunday, after they have been blessed by the parish priest for everyone to take home as a visible sign of the Lord's blessing to you and your family members.
It is very important that we pass on to all of our children the Orthodox Christian Tradition and explain to them the religious significance of everything that we do in church. I, therefore, request that all of our children attend the Divine Liturgy and stay to make palm crosses.
By making palm-crosses, the children learn to give of themselves and participating in the celebration of the holy Feast of Palm Sunday, the Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
The Sacrament of Repentance/Confession will be offered to all Adults and children following the Divine Liturgy
It has been our parish tradition to encourage and offer the Sacrament of Repentance/Confession to as many children as possible. The appropriate age for children to begin confessing is 8 years old when they begin to know right from wrong.
A Lenten lunch will be offered to everyone attending.
Thank you for your support and cooperation.
In Christ's service,