Palm Sunday at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County

On Sunday, March 25, 2018, Prelacy Churches were filled with faithful and beautifully adorned with palm fronds for the celebration of Palm Sunday, the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered his sermon, blessed young faithful during the children’s procession, and conducted the Opening of the Portals service at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian and Archpriest Fr. Hrant Yeretzian assisted at the altar.

The Prelate began his sermon by joyfully greeting the parish community with chants of “Hosanna to the Son of David!
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Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” giving thanks to God for granting the opportunity to once again collectively celebrate Palm Sunday.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem He was bringing the message of His kingdom and His peace, said His Eminence. Just a day before He had raised Lazarus from the dead and was now entering Jerusalem triumphantly for the last time to cleanse the temple of moneychangers and merchants. It was the Jewish Passover and thousands had descended upon Jerusalem. Having heard of Jesus and His miracles, they had gathered to witness the coming of the Messiah and greet Him with chants of Hosanna. In addition to His followers and innocent children, His opponents, the Scribes and Pharisees, who a few days later would call for His crucifixion, were also present.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing well that the path would lead to the Cross, yet He continued on for us, so that through His Resurrection on Easter Sunday He would lead mankind from despair to hope, from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, from death to life, stated the Prelate. As the crowds were laying down their cloaks before Jesus, they were symbolically relinquishing control and submitting themselves to Him. And that is what we are called to do today; to lay down our cloaks before Jesus, open the portals of our hearts and souls to Him, and surrender to His will, he stressed.
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Speaking on the large number of children who were among the multitude who greeted Him in Jerusalem, the Prelate exhorted, “let their innocence be an example for us all to emulate, and as the children lined up to welcome Jesus with joy and enthusiasm, let us welcome His glorious Resurrection with renewed faith and pure hearts and souls.”

Finally, the His Eminence touched on the Opening of the Portals ceremony which symbolizes the Second Coming of Christ and the opening of the doors of salvation, and invited the faithful to follow the service attentively, to open the doors of their hearts and souls to Him, and with humility and atonement to beseech the Lord to open for us the door of His mercy and make us worthy of inheriting the Kingdom which He has prepared for us.

Following the sermon, the Prelate exited the church in a procession and circled the courtyard blessing the multitude of faithful and children in particular who had gathered to receive his blessings with decorated candles in hand. Afterward, the Prelate and assisting clergy conducted the Opening of the Portals service, with young John Calkins serving as the Godfather.

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