Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week!!
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week. On April 05, 2015, with the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, the parishioners of St. Sergius of Radonezh Orthodox Church Sargodha Pakistan started the Holy Week with the solemn celebrations of Palm Sunday.
As the rest of the Christian denominations are celebrating Easter all over the world, we the orthodox faithful joyfully followed the holy traditions of the Universal and Undivided Church, founded by our Lord Jesus Christ and spread far and wide by His apostles and their successors.
Procession: The parishioners gathered around in the circle, where palms were blessed by Fr. Joseph Farooq who led the procession. The assembled Orthodox worshipers joyfully chanted the Psalms holding the palm branches and proceeded towards the place of worship where Divine Liturgy was celebrated. To mark Jesus' triumphal entry to Jerusalem in the procession the Orthodox youth and children with full passion and enthusiasm chanted “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest”.
Divine Liturgy: With the blessings of God we had a Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy; it is a true blessing and joy for the faithful as they receive the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. Fr. Joseph Farooq preached the homily of St. John Chrysostom. During the Divine Liturgy special prayers were offered for peace in suffering land of Pakistan and Middle East and other parts of the world; we also offered prayers for the health and many good years of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, for the Orthodox clergy and faithful all over the world. Fr. Joseph Farooq said in his sermon to the faithful that it is the beauty of Orthodox traditions to begin the spiritual preparation for Holy Pascha with Great Lent and forty days of fasting, he further said that Russian Orthodox Church teaches us the practicality of forgiveness, repentance and our day to day spiritual journey with our Savior, the Risen Lord Jesus. Towards the end of the preaching Fr. Joseph Farooq humbly directed the faithful: “Prepare yourself and be strong in your faith as the evil forces of the world threatening the peace and bring huge damage to the humans.
“Blessed are we that have not seen, and yet have believed”
The ceremony was a landmark and all the faithful were very happy, returned their homes with spiritual joy and the blessings of the Holy Week. They took these blessed palm branches and candles home along with them as a sign of blessings for their families and homes.
It is worth mentioning that most of non-Orthodox Christians experience varying levels of culture shock when they start following the Orthodox faith and traditions and especially the change of feast days, for example Christmas and Great Lent and Holy Pascha, and it is more difficult for the Protestant to accept the change as their faith backgrounds do not emphasize blessings of Divine Liturgy and the sacraments.
Glory to Jesus!! With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia and through the hard labor and teaching the seed of the holy Orthodoxy is enriching in the hearts of the Orthodox faithful, and the Mission is growing day by day. According to my 5 years’ experience, I observed that the faithful feel real happiness and joy in the Russian Orthodox Church in Pakistan; they are more comfortable and receive respect and true pastoral care by attending the services of Russian Orthodox Church in Pakistan. We are thankful to God that holy Orthodoxy is growing day by day and number of persons from various backgrounds are becoming interested in the Orthodox Church.
Humble Request: St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission in Pakistan most humbly invites the generous donors and supporters to join us as a partner to reach out the Christians of Pakistan and preaching and teaching the holy Orthodoxy in this part of the world.
Mission: Saint Michael Archangel Orthodox Mission in
Parish: St. Sergius of Radonezh Orthodox Church Sargodha Pakistan.
ROCOR Priest: Fr. Joseph Farooq