Churches in Syria and Iraq following western calendar celebrate Palm Sunday

BETH NAHRIN — Yesterday, churches following the Gregorian, or western, calendar in Syria and Iraq held Palm Sunday Holy Liturgies. Patriarchs and archbishops of western Churches, including the Syriac, Syriac Melkite (Rum) Catholic, Chaldean, Armenian, and the Eastern Assyrian Churches, presided over Palm Sunday Holy Liturgies across Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia).

Clergymen and children carrying olive branches and chanting prayers circled around celebrating churches with candles in the presence of a large crowd of believers.

In Iraq, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan presided over the Palm Sunday Holy Liturgy in the Church of the Great Immaculate Conception in Baghdede (Qaraqosh). The Patriarch also participated in the traditional annual procession on the streets of Baghdede, in which more than 20,000 people took part. Upon arrival at the church of Mor Youhanna (St. John the Baptist), the Patriarch prayed the Entry into Jerusalem prayer. He then delivered a speech in Syriac and Arabic discussing the meaning of the feast when Jesus entered Jerusalem with humility and love to teach us.

In Daramsuq (Damascus), Syriac Melkite Catholic Patriarch Youssef al-Absi held the Palm Sunday Holy Liturgy in Our Lady of Dormition Cathedral. During his sermon, he talked about the meaning of the feast, which embodies the joy of the people of Jerusalem in receiving the Jesus.

Bassam Ishak, Member of the Executive Council of the Syrian Democratic Council’s (SDC) US Mission and Head of the Syriac National Council of Syria, and Ibrahim Mrad, President of the Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP) in Lebanon, congratulated celebrating Christians on the advent of Palm Sunday. They wished for peace and security to prevail in the region, and for the people to enjoy joy and lasting goodness.