Today marks the beginning of Holy Week, with the Palm Sunday Matins performed on Saturday night and Palm Sunday Vespers performed on Sunday morning.
Matins is usually the morning service and Vespers the evening service. During Holy Week, the order of these key daily services is reversed and Matins is celebrated the night before the event. The Vespers services are celebrated the following morning. Churches following the Byzantine Rite such as Georgia and Greece follow this custom, although the Slav churches do not.
Reversing the order of the services creates a sensation of the world being in crisis, with events upside-down, and time and space collapsing in upon itself, prompted by the passion our Lord endured for our salvation.
Palm Sunday of course celebrates the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, a day after he had resurrected his dear friend Lazarus in Bethany. The news of this miracle had preceded him and enthusiastic crowds assembled to greet him, waving palm fronds. The Troparion for Palm Sunday is:
- By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
- You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God!
- Like the children with the palms of victory,
- We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
- Hosanna in the Highest!
- Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!!