The Holy Week of Easter 2011 has been celebrated by large congregations of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney.
Celebrations commenced on Sunday 17 April, known as Sunday of the Hosana, during which His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, offered the Holy Eucharist at St Hurmizd Cathedral.
Thousands of faithful gathered to witness and commemorate the entrance of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into the Holy city of Jerusalem approximately 2000 years ago. At the same time, the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East’s parishes all over Sydney gathered in their churches to conduct the Holy Mysteries.
Feast of Hosana[nggallery id=187]
The Thursday of the Passover was celebrated with the offering of the Holy Eucharist by His Beatitude Mar Meelis at St Hurmizd Cathedral. Later that night, the church gathered once again to conduct a vigil in the remembrance of the Last Supper of our Lord. Here, 12 children participated in the traditional ‘washing of the feet’ by His Beatitude Mar Meelis; an annual event which symbolises Christ washing the feet of his 12 disciples.
Thursday of Passover[nggallery id=188]
Early the next morning, on Good Friday, faithful met at St Hurmizd Cathedral and departed to visit the graveyards; first to Pinegrove, then to Rockwood. On arrival, priests and deacons sung hymns known as ‘madrasheh’ and made their way through all the isles of the graveyards. Faithful lit incense and spent the day with the beloved family members that are sleeping, awaiting the return of Christ.
The Good Friday evening service involved church members gathering at their parishes to witness the covering of the crosses in black cloth. The cries and mourning of those present were heard during the service, when faithful remembered the crucifixion of our Lord.
At the conclusion of the service, the church gathered at St Mary Church Hall in Smithfield where the motion picture The Passion of the Christ was played on a large screen, making Christ’s suffering for our salvation visible to all.
Good Friday passed and the Great Saturday arrived. On Saturday 23 April 2011, all parishes conducted the night vigil with prayers beginning from 8pm. His Beatitude Mar Meelis led the ‘shaharta’ or Midnight Mass service at St Hurmizd Cathedral.
The offering of the Holy Eucharist commenced at 10pm, where thousands of church members attended the service all over Sydney.
On Easter Sunday, thousands of faithful again gathered for the Holy Eucharist service, which was offered at 8am by Cor-Bishop Ashoor Lazar at St Hurmizd Cathedral, and Reverend Kivarkis Atto at St Mary Church.
Feast of the Resurrection[nggallery id=189]
Holy Week came to an end with the Monday of the Thief service, which was celebrated by all Assyrian Church of the East parishes across Sydney. On this day, faithful commemorated Titus the ‘good thief’, who was crucified on a cross placed to the right of Christ. Titus went on to win the key to Paradise by repenting and asking for forgiveness from our Lord.
Monday of the Robber[nggallery id=190]
May the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be a blessing to all who confess Christ as our Lord God.