Believers gather in large numbers for Bucharest Palm Sunday Procession: It is a work of confession, Patriarch Daniel says

“After two years of pandemic, when we lived in isolation and showed love for our neighbours by keeping them at a distance, God made us worthy to resume the tradition of pilgrimage on the eve of the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem,” Patriarch Daniel said on Saturday evening at the Palm Sunday Procession in Bucharest. His Beatitude appreciated the believers who attended in more significant numbers than in the previous procession in 2019.

The procession with the icon of the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem took place at 16:15 on Saturday on the route Radu Voda Monastery – St. Spyridon Cathedral – St. Catherine’s Church – Patriarchal Cathedral.

On the Patriarchate’s Hill, the pilgrims led by His Grace Assistant Bishop Timotei of Prahova were welcomed by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.

The Romanian Patriarch pointed out that this tradition has now been stopped by the pandemic, but in the past, for over 45 years, it has been interrupted by the atheist communist regime.

“After the changes of 1989, this tradition of pilgrimages dating back to the third and fourth centuries – to Jerusalem and Constantinople and then from the fourteenth century in the Romanian Principalities was resumed.”

Which was the first pilgrimage?

“This tradition, simultaneously patristic, medieval and modern, is taken up again as a confession of the true faith, as a remembrance of the Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem after His journey from Bethany – which is about three kilometres from Jerusalem,” the Patriarch said April 16.

Patriarch Daniel spoke to the thousands of pilgrims about the raising of Lazarus when a large crowd had also come to Bethany to see the miracle performed by Jesus.

“That pilgrimage from Bethany to Jerusalem and the joy of the crowds who hailed Jesus for this miracle was the first pilgrimage in which the joy of the victory of life over death was manifested,” the Patriarch of Romania noted.

Quoting St. John Chrysostom and other Church Fathers, the Patriarch of Romania explained that the Resurrection of Lazarus foreshadowed the Resurrection of Jesus firstly, and secondly, the Universal Resurrection of all humans at the Last Judgement.

“This feast of the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem has a special significance because, after passing through suffering and death and after being buried, Christ rose from the dead and entered the heavenly Jerusalem where death will be no more.”

This is why on Easter night, we chant, “Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem!” His Beatitude said recalling that the same hymn – slightly changed – is chanted at the consecration of churches when the risen and crucified Christ mystically enters the place of worship.

“But the risen Christ can no longer be bound by space and time. He is free from any determinism of nature in this world. This explains why He passes through locked doors and how He is present for a few moments with the disciples and then disappears. He has absolute freedom,” Patriarch Daniel said, referring to the moment of the breaking of the Bread at Emmaus.

The essence of our faith

“This Palm Sunday Procession is the icon that foretells the joy of Easter,” the Patriarch reiterated.

“This entry into the Holy Week of the Passions, which passes through Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, is a salvific work. It no longer has a pedagogical meaning like the forty days of Lent, but a mystical character, of partaking of the Passions with Christ.”

“Through the pilgrimage’s work of confession, we have concentrated in gestures, words, and hymns the essence of our faith, namely the link between the Cross and the Resurrection, suffering and victory, sorrow and joy.”

“We congratulate all those who contributed to this pilgrimage’s good organization, and we note that the number of pilgrims today is higher than in 2019,” the Patriarch of Romania said, thanking the authorities, the Deaneries of Bucharest and all those who helped the organization of the procession.

The event was broadcast live by Trinitas TV.

Photography courtesy of / Mircea Florescu

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