Prelate Celebrates Palm Sunday at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino

On Sunday, April 1st, 2012, Palm Sunday, the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, was ceremoniously celebrated in Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy, followed by the children’s procession, and concluding with the Opening of the Portals service.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered his Palm Sunday message at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Parish pastor Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian and deacons assisted at the altar.

“Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, began the Prelate’s sermon.

The Prelate reflected on the events leading up to Palm Sunday, including the raising of Lazarus from the dead and the encounter of Jesus with the two blind men whose eyes He opened. He noted that this was not the first time the Jews had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was an annual pilgrimage they would make to commemorate Passover, when the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. However, on that day, they were there to receive a different kind of freedom, spiritual salvation. News of the recent miracles that Jesus had performed had reached the people and they had gathered to see who this miracle worker was.

Jesus had been to Jerusalem many times during His three years of earthly ministry to open the eyes, ears, hearts, and souls of the people. This time however was different; there was now recognition of Him as the promised Messiah and as He entered, He was greeted by a multitude laying garments on the road before him as a sign of obedience and respect and waving palm and olive branches proclaiming, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”

As He entered Jerusalem, Jesus also encountered those who were still using temples as marketplaces and upon seeing this sight, He cried over what had become of the city, cleansed the temples and continued to perform miracles of healing.

The Prelate then spoke on the invitation and message of Palm Sunday. Reflecting again on the miracle of the raising of Lazarus, he spoke of the deep friendship and love between Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus loved Jesus with a pure heart and soul, and thus received love and life. Palm Sunday is an invitation for us to become a true friend of Jesus and love Him with a pure heart as did Lazarus, so that we too become worthy of His love and promise of eternal life. The cleansing of the temple is an invitation to cleanse ourselves internally, to walk with Jesus, to not become lost by straying from our purpose as did the merchants in the temple, “for if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him”.

Today, Jesus again visits His Church, His people, and will open the eyes of our souls as we reaffirm our obedience to Him and His commandments, just as He opened the physical eyes of the two blind men on the way to Jerusalem. Later, we will commemorate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem with the children’s procession. Carry your kids in the procession, lead them to become active participants in our traditions, and together let us all proclaim, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”, said the Prelate.

In conclusion, the Prelate offered a prayer to Almighty God to “open our eyes and dwell within us, for we are Your children and we will always serve You with faith, love, and pure hearts; and lead us with Your guidance on a path of goodness, peace, and righteousness.

The children’s procession, in which Sunday School students and Homenetmen scouts participated, followed the Divine Liturgy. Accompanied by the singing of a hymn for the occasion, the Prelate descended the altar and was led in a procession to the courtyard where faithful had gathered to kiss the cross and receive his blessings. Upon returning to the altar, the Prelate conducted the Opening of the Portals service, symbolizing the second coming of Christ. The godfather of the service was Hovsep Joey Avakian.
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At the conclusion of the celebration, the faithful returned to their homes palm branches in hand with uplifted spirits.

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