Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem: Palm Sunday and Holy and Great Week


My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,



We now enter the most sacred week of the year. It starts with the Feast of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, which, as we have already said, taken with the raising of Lazarus, forms a prelude of joy and glory to the harrowing humiliations which are to follow. The Holy and Great Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy and Great Week are a preparation for the Passion. They already have a strongly accented character of mourning and repentance. The Holy and Great Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Holy and Great Week belong to the paschal solemnities - each one of these days reveals to us a special aspect of the mystery of Pascha. One could even say that this mystery has three aspects, each of which corresponds to a day: the Upper Room, Golgotha, the Holy Sepulchre. Holy and Great Thursday commemorates the mystery of the Upper Room. Holy and Great Friday the mystery of Golgotha, Holy and Great Saturday the mystery of the Tomb of Christ. On Thursday, in the Upper Room, Jesus, through a sacramental action, both announces and represents, consecrates and offers what is to take place during the following days. On the Friday, at Golgotha, Jesus, by His death on the Cross, accomplishes our redemption. On the Saturday, Jesus rests in the tomb; but the Church, already looking ahead to the Feast of Pascha Sunday, speaks to us of the victory over death that our Savior has won. This anticipation of the Resurrection on Holy and Great Saturday allows us to say that the mystery of Christ's Resurrection, triumphantly celebrated on Pascha Sunday, already belongs, although incompletely, to Holy and Great Week. And so this Week constitutes a summary of the whole economy of our salvation.

It would be a great mistake to want to concentrate on one of the aspects of the paschal mystery by separating it from the others. The word 'Passover', 'Pascha', in the Traditional language of the Church, does not only designate the Sunday of the Resurrection, but it also covers the Mystery (Sacrament) of the Divine Eucharist, the Mystery of the Cross, and the Mystery of the empty tomb. Holy and Great Thursday, Holy and Great Friday, Holy and Great Saturday, and, finally, the Sunday of Pascha altogether make up one and the same unique Paschal Mystery.

Holy and Great Week confronts us with the redemptive ministry or office of the Christ, rather than with His person. It offers us the objective grace and inner experience of salvation of the Lamb of God for the sinner so that sin may be redeemed, the Sacrifice of the Cross, and God's acceptance of this Sacrifice as it is revealed by the Resurrection. We are called to let the Blood of Christ flow over our spiritual wounds, to unite ourselves to the sacrificial death of the Savior so that we may be united to His New Life.  

"...O my Savior, grant that during this Week I may come to know the profound significance of the Father's gift of His only Son, of the gift of His own life made by the Son, and of that 'greater love' which the Paschal Mystery reveals. Grant me to know, too, what to 'lay down His life', and 'greater love' implies for me.

From the first day of Holy and Great Week, we must "receive" Jesus Christ, and accept that His will is sovereign over us. The meaning of Palm Sunday lies in this welcome given to the Christ Who comes to us.

The crowd which acclaimed Jesus carried palms and branches. These branches were probably olive branches -- the most common tree around Jerusalem, Palms, and olives both have their symbolic meaning. The palm stands for victory and the olive for peace and anointing. So let us go before Jesus and pay homage both to His power and to His tenderness, in offering our victories (which are in fact His victories) both over ourselves and over sin, and our inner peace (which is His peace).

'A very great multitude spread their garments in the way...' Let us throw at Jesus' feet our garments, our possessions, our security, all our worldly goods, and also our false appearances and, above, all our ideas, desires, and our feelings. Let the King in his triumph trample underfoot everything that is ours. Let everything that we hold precious be submitted and offered to Him.

The crowd shouted: "Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord". If I can say these words with complete sincerity and submission, if they mean that the impulse of my whole being goes towards the King Whom, from henceforth, I acknowledge, then, in that instant, I have turned away from my sins and have received Jesus Christ. May He be welcomed and blessed, He Who comes to me. (Source: The Year of Grace of the Lord)


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George