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Russian Orthodox Church marking Palm Sunday

April 08, 2012, 5:31 UTC+3
It heralds in the Holy Week, which reminds the believers of Jesus’s sufferings and death on the Cross
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Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, April 8 (Itar-Tass) — Eastern Orthodox Christians are marking one of the biggest feasts of the year – the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, which is more typically known as Palm Sunday.

It heralds in the Holy Week, which reminds the believers of Jesus’s sufferings and death on the Cross.

On Palm Sunday, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I will lead a liturgy in Moscow’s downtown Cathedral of the Savior. The clerics will take out of the alter a box with a part of the Holy Robe and a nail from the Savior’s cross.

The great relics will be placed for veneration in the center of the cathedral and access to them will be open throughout the week, after which the relics will be taken at the believers’ request to the Penza region, some 700 km to the east of Moscow.

Until fairly recently, both relics were kept in the Moscow Kremlin museum. They would be taken out of the altar of the Assumption Cathedral only once a year.

The Holy Cross, on which Jesus was crucified, was found in the 4th century by St Helen, he mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine. Together with the Cross, four nails with which the Savior’s arms and legs had been fastened to the cross were found.

Tradition suggests that one of the nails was brought to Moscow by Georgia’s Crown Prince Archill.

According to the Gospel, Jesus’s robe became the loot of war of a Roman warrior who was standing by the Cross. Until the 17th century, it was kept in Georgia’s ancient city of Mskheta.

When Persian troops seized the city in 1617, they sent the robe to Shah Abbas, who in his turn proposed it by way of a present to the Russian Czar Mikhail Romanov.

In 1624, the Holy Robe arrived in Moscow and was deposited in the Assumption Cathedral.

In the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, the robe and the nail were handed over to the Office of the Patriarch by the Presidential Administration.

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