Table of contents
The Feast of Palms
Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday
Visible triumphs are few in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He preached a kingdom "not of this world." At His nativity in the flesh there was "no room at the inn." For nearly thirty years, while He grew "in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52), He lived in obscurity as "the son of Mary." When He appeared from Nazareth to begin His public ministry, one of the first to hear of Him asked: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). In the end He was crucified between two thieves and laid to rest in the tomb of another man.
Two brief days stand out as sharp exceptions to the above - days of clearly observable triumph. These days are known in the Church today as Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday. Together they form a unified liturgical cycle which serves as the passage from the forty days of Great Lent to Holy Week.
They are the unique and paradoxical days before the Lord's Passion. They are days of visible, earthly triumph, of resurrectional and messianic joy in which Christ Himself is a deliberate and active participant. At the same time they are days which point beyond themselves to an ultimate victory and final kingship which Christ will attain not by raising one dead man or entering a particular city, but by His own imminent suffering, death and resurrection.
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion,
Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
we cry out to Thee,
O Vanquisher of Death: Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He that conies in the name of the Lord!
(Troparion of the Feast, sung on both Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday)