Greek Orthodox faithful across Australia celebrate Palm Sunday

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Greek Orthodox churches across Australia were packed on Palm Sunday, April 28 this year as thousands of faithful gathered to celebrate the start of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday, also known as the Triumphal Entry, is one of the Orthodox Church’s Great Feasts. It is held on the Sunday before Pascha (Orthodox Easter). On this day, the Church celebrates Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem in the days before the Jewish Passover.

On Sunday, Greek Orthodox faithful attended church for Divine Liturgy services and partook in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

During the service, the Greek Orthodox Church observes the Blessing and Distribution of the Palms. The palm tree branches represent Christ’s triumph over the devil and death. People who attended the liturgy were given palm crosses to take home and place near the icon of Jesus Christ.  

After church, many people either enjoyed a meal with fellow parishioners or went home to enjoy the day with family.

Although it is still Sarakosti (40 days of Lent), Greeks around the world eat fish on Palm Sunday. The Greek Orthodox Church permits the consumption of fish, oil, and wine, but not dairy products, eggs, chicken, or red meat.

Usually, the classic dish that Greek Orthodox people consume on Palm Sunday is Bakaliaros with skordalia, a dish that contains fried cod fillet with a creamy garlic mash.  

The next three days of Holy Week will shift into an atmosphere of mourning as they mark the days leading to Christ’s crucifixion.

READ MORE: Holy Monday: The Service of the Bridegroom begins

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