On this day, the Sunday of Palms, we celebrate the radiant and glorious Feast of the Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
Sitting on a foal, He Who stretched out the Heavens
By a word seeketh to loose mortals from irrationality.
After Lazarus had been raised from the dead, many, on beholding this event, came to believe in Christ. And indeed, a resolution was passed by the Jewish synagogue that Christ, and Lazarus himself, should be killed. Jesus, therefore, departed, letting evil run its course, and the Jews meditated how they might kill Him on the Feast of Passover. Some time after His flight, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, and there, after a supper had been made, Lazarus ate with Him; his sister Mary poured out ointment on Christ’s feet. On the following day, He sent His Disciples to fetch the ass and the foal. He Who has Heaven for His throne entered Jerusalem, riding on the foal of an ass. The children of the Hebrews themselves spread their garments under Him and, cutting down palm branches, threw some of them in the way and carried others in their arms, and they cried out as they escorted Him: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel.”
This took place because the All-Holy Spirit moved their tongues to praise and laud Christ. Through the palms (the name given by the Hebrews to the tender branches) they signified Christ’s victory over death. For it was customary for the victors of athletic contests and wars to be honored and borne about with branches of evergreen trees. The foal signified us, the people of the Gentiles, sitting and resting on whom Christ is proclaimed victor, conqueror, and King of all the earth.
About this Feast the Prophet Zacharias said: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; for behold, thy King is coming to thee, meek and riding on an ass and the foal of an ass.” And again, about the children, David says: “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise.” When Christ entered the city, the whole of Jerusalem quaked and, goaded on by the High Priests to defend it, the crowds sought to do away with Him. He eluded them by hiding, and when He did appear, He spoke to them through parables.
By Thine ineffable compassion, O Christ our God, make us victors over irrational passions, and vouchsafe us to behold Thy clear victory over death, Thy radiant and life-bearing Resurrection, and have mercy on us. Amen.
By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Christ, Our God, we have been Buried with You through Baptism, and by Your Resurrection made worthy of Life immortal. Praising You, we cry out, “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
In Heaven, He is seated upon a Throne and on earth He rides upon a foal. O Christ our God, accept the praise of the Angels and the hymn of the Children who cry out to You, “Blessed are You who comes to recall Adam.”