On April 28 we celebrated Palm Sunday which is the feast of the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. Our Rector, priest Igor Tarasov celebrated solemn Divine Liturgy at St. George’s Church.
Before the celebration of the Hours Fr. Igor conducted the Office of joining the Orthodox faith of Myrna Flora who expressed a desire to convert to Orthodoxy. She publicly renounced the errors of the Roman Church and received the Mystery of Chrismation taking the name Anastasia. Fr. Igor congratulated Anastasia Flora on her embracing the holy Orthodox faith.
After the Hours and before the Liturgy Fr. Igor blessed the pussy-willows and distributed them to the parishioners. Faithful present at the Liturgy were holding the blessed branches resembling the people of Jerusalem who greeted our Lord Jesus Christ entering the holy City.
Following the reading from the holy Gospel priest Igor preached a homily. He said,
“Today is a great and glorious feast, the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. It is a joyful Church celebration. But today Christ also enters the path of His sufferings. And among those terrible sufferings of the Lord we often do not consider one – His feeling of loneliness. Dreadful loneliness overcame Jesus during all the days of Passion week. We may say that God cannot feel lonely; God is a self-sufficient Being. But Jesus was also a Man, thus He could feel loneliness. The loneliness begins with a misunderstanding; the people expect that the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem will be the triumphant procession of a political ruler, of a leader who will free His people from oppression. The loneliness will develop further into the dreadful feeling of not being understood even by His disciples. At the Last Supper when the Savior talks to them for the last time, they will be in constant doubt as to the meaning of His words. And later when He goes into the Olive Garden before the fearful death, His closest disciples fall asleep. And the greatest loneliness of Christ will be on the cross when He will cry out, “My God, My God, why You have forsaken me?”
“During the coming days we will be not just remembering, but spiritually present at Christ’s Passion. We shall be part of the crowd surrounding Christ and the disciples and the Mother of God. As we hear the Gospel readings, as we listen to the prayers of the Church, as one image after another of these days of the Passion passes before our eyes, let each one of us ask himself the question, “Where do I stand, who am I in this crowd? A Pharisee? A Scribe? A traitor, a coward? Who? Or do I stand among the Apostles?” But they too were overcome by fear. Peter denied Him three times, Judas betrayed Him, John, James and Peter went to sleep just when Christ most needed human love and support; the other disciples fled; no one remained except John and the Mother of God. Where do we stand?”
“These questions concern the state of our soul. But these questions can be addressed to our everyday behavior, our everyday choices and preferences during this coming week. Are we going to come to church and participate in all services [ in our parish they are minimized……], or we will not? Let us be as babes and sucklings, let us put away our worldly cares and free ourselves from our laziness, let us be with the family of God, with the Mother of God and St John, and follow Christ to the Cross, so that then we can follow Him to His Resurrection, to Victory and Triumph, and so be resurrected in spirit together with Him. Amen.”
Many people present at the Liturgy received the Mysteries of Penance and holy Eucharist.
After the Liturgy the Rector and parishioners enjoyed the meals at our coffee hour.