On April 17, 2022 the Orthodox Church celebrated feast of the Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, also known as Palm Sunday.
Our parish prepared to celebrate that great feast but we suffered a misfortune. An electric fire in one of our back closets started in the morning before the service. We had to call the Fire Department that quickly responded and put all the fire down. However, our temple suffered a minor damage. Since the fire fighters permitted us to use the building, we did some basic cleaning and started our service. It began later than it was scheduled. Because our electric system caused the fire, our power had to be shut off and we served without electricity.
The Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed festal liturgical service. Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) was present, prayed in the sanctuary and was hearing confessions. Some of his spiritual children also joined us at the Liturgy.
After the reading of the Hours the Rector blessed the pussy-willows and distributed them to the parishioners who were holding them during the service resembling the people of Jerusalem who greeted Jesus Christ with the olive and palm branches during His triumphal entry to the city.
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication the Rector had a petition for the suffering country of Ukraine and its people. He also added a commemoration of the “suffering Ukrainian land” at the Great Entrance.
The choir prayerfully performed festal hymns of Palm Sundayduring preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and the altar servers performed the rite of glorification before the festal icon. Then Fr. Igor preached a sermon in English and in Russian about the celebrated feast. He pointed out that in the Gospel reading assigned for this feast we heard that the people of Jerusalem came out to greet Jesus because they knew that He performed a sign: Jesus resurrected Lazarus. People are often looking for the signs. Today we had a fire in our church. Was that a sign? Probably. First of all, it should be a sign that we need to be more caring and diligent regarding our precious temple. And the pussy-willows we have blessed and holding today are also a sign of our allegiance to Christ the Savior. If we hold them as such sign, not as just a tribute to our tradition, we may do it appropriately and be worthy of the Holy Passions of Christ which we are going to celebrate next week.
At the conclusion Fr. Igor greeted everybody on the occasion of the feast and preached a short sermon in Russian regarding the end of Lent and how did we spend that special time. He also reminded the parishioners about our service schedule for the Holy Week.