THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY OF THE LORD TO JERUSALEM
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel.” (John 12: 13)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
We have arrived at Palm Sunday. The Holy Gospel of the day speaks to us of the visit of the Lord to the town of Bethany, where He raised Lazarus, who lay dead in the tomb for four days. This event took place six days prior to the Judaic Pascha. The family of Lazarus, after his resurrection, offered hospitality to the Lord in their home.
The raised Lazarus was included among the guests. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, approached the Lord and anointed His feet with a very expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair. This task which Mary did, up until that time was the job of the servants of the host or hostess. Thus, the action of Mary showed her humility, her love towards Christ and the feelings of gratitude and affection of her family towards Christ, Who raised her brother. The scent of the myrrh was so strong that it filled the whole house.
The gesture of Mary scandalised Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Of course, the reason that he was scandalised was neither the great amount spent nor his concern towards the poor. In reality Judas was the treasurer of the apostolic group. This gave him the opportunity to steal from the common purse. However, the buying of myrrh stopped him from having the opportunity to take money. The Lord advised him not to bother Mary and not to worry her. Her action prefigured the anointing of the body of the Lord before His burial which was due to take place. What is more, the Lord said that if Judas was really concerned for the poor, they would always be around and they could, if they wanted, to take care of them.
The people, when they heard of the presence of the Lord to Bethany, hastened to see Him. Additionally, they wanted to see Lazarus, who had recently been raised. On the other hand, the archpriests of the Jews plotted to kill both, Christ and Lazarus. The presence of the raised Lazarus made many Jews abandon their faith and follow Christ.
The following day many of the people who went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Pascha, when they heard about the coming of Jesus took branches of palms, went out to meet Him and shouted: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (Jn 12:13). Since Jesus found a colt, He sat on his back according to the prophecy “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming; Sitting on a donkey’s colt.” (Jn 12: 15).
The disciples witnessed all these events but without comprehending them. However, after the Resurrection, the Ascension into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were illuminated, remembered that everything was recorded in the Bible and understood them correctly. All who were present at the raising of Lazarus gave their living and undisputable witness. The people hastened to meet Him for this reason, since they learnt about this exceptional miracle.
The Lord entered Jerusalem sitting on the back of a colt. This animal is an unclean one and symbolises the entry of the gentiles in the fold of the Church. At the same time this action declared the humility of the Lord for He did not use a horse as it was the case for earthly kings. The Church invites us to welcome Him as the eternal King and to offer Him our souls as His Throne. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly during the month of April were subsidised by the children of the late Amaryllis and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
BREAK FOR EASTER: We would like to inform all our honoured elderly that the meals stopped on Thursday, 14th April 2011 for the Easter festivities. They will resume on Tuesday, 3rd May 2011. We look forward to seeing all our elderly as well as our helpers for the meals on that day.
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscriptions for the Community (£50.00), Pantanassa (£25.00) and the Archdiocese Magazine (£15.00) are now due. If you have not already paid your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
NEWS FROM OUR BOOKSHOP: Our bookshop has the following books in stock:
Greek and English
The Akathist Hymn £10.00 Prayer Book £ 5.00
Holy Week £25.00 Divine Liturgy £ 5.00
Holy Bible (Old and New Testament)£50.00 Diaconia £10.00
Our Orthodox Christian Faith £10.00
A PIECE OF ADVICE: You may purchase any of the above books from the Community office. We know that some people complain that they do not understand the Church Services and whatever else is said. We advise people to buy the relative books, study them and come forward with their questions so they can be helped.
DIVINE LITURGY (GREEK AND ENGLISH): We recently received the new edition of the Divine Liturgy which is bilingual (Greek and English). This new edition has been updated and contains the Service of Preparation (Proskomidi), a letter of commendation by His All Holiness Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome and a Preface by His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. It is a very useful book to have in Church during the Divine Liturgy. Price £5.00 for the small paperback copy and £10.00 for the hardback.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: Once a year the School Governing Body issues and circulates raffle tickets in aid of the School. This year so far 135 volunteers have bought raffle tickets of £40.00 each in aid of the school funds. We still need another 165 persons to buy the remaining raffles. We hope that you will respond to this worthy cause. Remember that the young generation is our future. We therefore need to educate them properly and at the appropriate time.
PROGRAMME FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER: The programme for Holy Week and Easter services is now available. This shows the times of the services in the two churches, St Mary’s Cathedral and St Barnabas Church. You can obtain a copy for your guidance and information.
COLLECTIONS FOR THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE, OUR COMMUNITY AND FLOWERS: This festive period there will be collections for our Ecumenical Patriarchate, the needs of our church and for the flowers for the two epitaphions. We would kindly ask you to contribute generously towards these purposes.
GREEK SCHOOL LESSONS STOP FOR EASTER: St Barnabas Greek School lessons have stopped for the Easter festivities. They will resume after Easter on Tuesday, 3rd May 2011 for the 1st and 2nd schools and on Saturday, 7th May 2011 for the 3rd and 4th schools. We look forward to seeing all the pupils in school on the relevant dates.
VOLUMES OF THE ENGLISH DIACONIA: We are pleased to announce that so far five volumes of the English Diaconia are available, covering the years from 1980 – 2005. The sixth volume of the English Diaconia covering the years 2006-2010 will shortly be available for purchase. This volume contains, as is the case with the other five volumes, the Sermons and the Community News.