Greek Palm Sunday

The Greek Orthodox Palm Sunday this year fell on Sunday 9th April 2023.  Palm Sunday (Kyriaki Ton Vaion) was celebrated here as the Western Latin World celebrated their Easter Sunday.  To all Christians, Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, following his miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. Having heard of this miracle and anticipating his triumphant arrival, the people of the city went out to meet Jesus with shouts of praise.  The people had all gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover and when they heard that Jesus was entering the ancient holy city on a donkey, they went to meet him with palm branches, laying their robes on the ground before him and shouting "Hosanna!  Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel".

On Palm Sunday, in addition to the Divine Liturgy, the Orthodox church observes the 'Blessing and Distribution of the Palms'.  A basket containing the woven palm crosses is placed on a table in front of the icon of the Lord, which is the Iconostasis, then following a prayer for the palms, the palm crosses are distributed to the faithful.  As the Greek Orthodox faithful are still observing the Great Lent (Sarakosti) before Easter, this is only one of two days during the Great Lent when fish is permitted, the other being the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary on 25th March*.  Most Greeks will then have the traditional Bakaliaros (fried cod fillet) with Skordalia (potato and garlic mash) following the Palm Sunday service, which starts the Megali Evdomada (Holy Week).

*On 25th March, there is a National Holiday throughout Greece that also celebrates the start of the 1821 Hellenic Revolution and Greek Independence Day.