Prelate Celebrates Palm Sunday at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino

On Sunday, March 20, 2016, “Avedissian” Hall of Holy Martyrs Church in Encino was filled to capacity as faithful had gathered for the celebration of Palm Sunday led by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, who celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, blessed the children, and conducted the Opening of the Gates service. Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian and deacons assisted at the altar.
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“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” proclaimed the Prelate as he began his sermon. Today as we celebrate the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, may our hearts and souls be transformed by the promise of liberation and salvation, and as Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace, may He enter the gates of our hearts,” said the Prelate. His Eminence spoke of the two groups of people gathered on that Passover; the first group, the example of which we are to emulate, had heard about His raising of Lazarus a few days prior, of His many miracles and His preaching of the heavenly kingdom during His three-year earthly ministry, and they greeted Him as the Messiah, joyfully waving palms and laying down their cloaks, with chants of “Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna in the highest!” The second group, which included Pharisees, chief priests, and scribes, were conspiring to silence Jesus and put an end to His ministry. They were expecting the arrival of a powerful king with a mighty army to bring political liberation, not the humble Prince of Peace Who arrived on a donkey surrounded by children. They wanted no part of the kingdom He was proclaiming because it did not benefit their selfish pursuit of power.

“The events of that day do not belong to history; they are a living reality which we can relive over and over again by inviting Him to enter the gates of our hearts and reside in us as the Prince of Peace, asking Him to restore peace in our lives, to open our spiritual and physical eyes and ears to truth and righteousness, to strengthen us in faith and make us spiritually whole,” exhorted the Prelate, invited the faithful to emulate the purity, humility, and meekness of the children in Jesus’ procession, and concluded by wishing for the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ to take root in the hearts of all during Holy Week as we cleanse and open our hearts to Him.

The children’s procession took place at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy. It was a beautiful scene as hundreds of faithful, in particular parents and children, had lined up inside and outside the hall, palm branches and decorated candles in hand, to receive the blessings of the Prelate as he made his way through the courtyard. The Opening of the Gates (Terenpatsek) service followed, symbolizing the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gates of Jerusalem and beseeching Him to open for us the gates of His mercy at His Second Coming. This year’s Godfather was young Troy Nalbandian. “Let us beseech the Righteous Judge to open the doors of his mercy for us, which is promised to us if only we open our hearts to Him and invite Him to reign in us,” said the Prelate in his message, and concluded by blessing Troy and through him all the children, congratulating his parents and grandparents, and praying for the Lord to keep us all in His tender care.

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