One week before the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Palm Sunday, celebrating the Triumphant Entry of Christ intoJerusalem.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem atop a donkey and the people gathered to meet Him with reverence, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet from the Old Testament.
The Gospel of St. Matthew, in relating the story, refers to the prophecy, “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled, that which was spoken by the prophet, saying “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you! He is humble and sitting on an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Mt 21:4-5).
On His arrival, a large crowd of people gathered to greet Him, and spread their cloaks on the road before Him, while others cut branches from palm trees and place them on the path. The crowd exclaimed: “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the Name of the Lord” (John 12:13).
On Palm Sunday, Holy Trinity Armenian Church was filled with parishioners gathered for the Divine Liturgy and special prayers of this wonderful feast. The church was decorated with branches from palm trees and beautiful flowers.
Traditionally, the members of ACYOC (Armenian Church Youth Organization of Canada) are invited to receive a special blessing from the pastor. Rev. Archpriest Zareh Zargarian addressed them, the future generation, praised their active presence in the life of this church, and asked them to stay true to their faith. He noted that this is a sacred haven from the dangers of the world, where we can find answers to the life’s most challenging tests and survive. The temptations are too many in our day to day lives, for the youth especially, being close to our Lord and faithful to our heritage and culture is the only way that we can survive as Armenian Christians, just like our ancestors did for thousands of years.
The blessed branches were distributed to the faithful and the Sunday School students brought extra joy into the church by joining older parishioners and displaying Palm Sunday drawings and related verses from the Bible written on large papers with beautiful decorations.
After the Divine Liturgy, a lunch reception prepared by the youth took place at the church hall. Taline Orfali from ACYOC writes about the event:
“On Sunday March 28, 2010, ACYOC held its annual Palm Sunday luncheon. After being blessed by Fr. Zareh during the Divine Liturgy, we resumed our tasks for the luncheon downstairs in the Magaros Artinian Hall.
Sassoun Dance Ensemble members came out to assist us with food preparations, setting up the tables and various other tasks. Fr. Zareh welcomed everyone and blessed the meals. The Master of Ceremony duties were filled by Diran Parnakoglu and Talin Orfali. They explained about how Palm Sunday is youth day, the symbolism of Palm Sunday and also a biography about ACYOC.
Diran Parnakoglu entertained us with a great song he performed, followed by dancing by “Sassoun” Dance Ensemble, and music by Sevag Avakian with his Derbek.
We had a variety of great dishes such as sarma, bouyreg, hummus, olive salad, and the main course was salmon, rice and mixed vegetables. This year we did things a little differently; the main course was served buffet style. The parishioners were very pleased and they left so happy. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the heartfelt donations that were submitted to us that day. We appreciate it so much.
At the end of the day Der Zareh Zargarian prayed for us and introduced all the youth, which was followed by a group photo.
We hope you will all join us again in 2011 for our next luncheon. God bless everyone and thank you to all those who came and supported us.”