Saturday, March 23, 2013

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

Triumphal Entry of Christ by Walter Rane

In celebration of Holy Week, I have decided to post photos from the Holy Land associated with the events of each day between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Some of these photos can be found on previous blog posts from our year in Jerusalem, some can be found in Eric Huntsman's wonderful book "God So Loved the World: The final Days of the Savior's Life" (Deseret Book, 2011) (Click here to learn more), and some are seen for the first time--having been pulled from my stash of many photos from various visits over the years to theses sacred sties. All photos are mine except for art work with noted artist--these paintings were selected by Eric Huntsman for use in his book.

Bethany (the modern day Palestinian Arab town of  al-Azariyah--named for Lazarus) sits on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives (center right of photo).


Its most noted inhabitants are Mary, Martha and Lazarus

Its most noted guest is Jesus who visited in the home of these three siblings many different times. Here he reminds Martha to choose the better part.

And here he raises Lazarus from his four day entombment.

Entrance to Lazarus' tomb. It was the raising of Lazarus that seemed to finalize the decision of Jerusalem's Jewish leaders to stop Jesus, who threatened their power.

Church and Mosque commemorate the raising of Lazarus. 

It is in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus where Jesus stayed at night during his last week in Jerusalem. It is an easy 30-60 minute walk up and over the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley and then up into Jerusalem.

In pre-Security Wall times, Palm Sunday pilgrims would follow the path of Jesus' Triumphal entry beginning as Jesus did, in Bethany. Unfortunately the wall now gets in the way.

A gate (top of the steps) was placed in the wall to allow pilgrim passage, but it is never opened or used.

The security wall in the photo divides Bethany to the left and Bethpage to the right. Instead of walking from Bethany to Bethpage, pilgrims now have to drive via a tunnel under the northern end of the Mount of Olives.

March 12, 2008 - Source: David Silverman/Getty Images Europe

Bethany (al-Azariyah) is at the bottom of the photo. Bethpage is above/beyond the wall and the green band of vegetation

Modern day Palm Sunday procession route in green beginning at the Church of Bethpage.

This Church in Bethpage commemorates "the place" where Jesus started his donkey ride into Jerusalem

Fresco from the Church at Bethpage.

From the Pater Noster Church half way down the Mt of Olives.

From The Russian Church of the Ascension

From Mar Elias Church (on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem)

Matthew 21
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

From this Palm Sunday procession in 2010, Christian pilgrims from all denominations follow the possible path Jesus traversed. At the top of the hill is the Pater Noster church. To see my original Palm Sunday blog click here

From the Pater Noster Church on the crest of the Mount of Olives looking back down to Bethpage.

The Old City of Jerusalem with the Mount of Olives in the distance. The tallest steeple on the mount is the Russian Steeple of the Ascension. To its right/south is the much shorter steeple of Pater Noster. From that church the pilgrims turn south toward the large Jewish Cemetery on the southwestern flank of the mount and then westward down the hill on the north side of the cemetery.

Another view of the Mount of Olives from the South. Jesus would have descended the mount for his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then ascended it latter in the day to return to Bethany on the back side of the mount.

Descending the Mount of Olives into the Kidron Valley. The large Jewish cemetery is to the left/south.

Coptic Christian pilgrims in red hats  who throughout the two hour long procession kept singing with great fervor the same words (in Arabic) over and over: "Hosanna, Hosanna, glory to God  in the highest." Then and now followers of Jesus shout Hosanna in recognition that he is our Savior and Redeemer. I like to think of the triumphal entry as one of the few episodes in the life of Jesus where he was happy knowing that people understood and believed.

A favorite hymn for the day

 All glory, laud, and honor, 
 to thee, Redeemer, King, 
 to whom the lips of children 
 made sweet hosannas ring. 

1. Thou art the King of Israel, 
 thou David's royal Son, 
 who in the Lord's name comest, 
 the King and Blessed One. 

2. The company of angels 
 are praising thee on high, 
 and we with all creation 
 in chorus make reply. 

3. The people of the Hebrews 
 with psalms before thee went; 
 our prayer and praise and anthems 
 before thee we present. 

4. To thee, before thy passion, 
 they sang their hymns of praise; 
 to thee, now high exalted, 
 our melody we raise. 

5. Thou didst accept their praises; 
 accept the prayers we bring, 
 who in all good delightest, 
 thou good and gracious King. 

 Climbing up from Gethsemane and the Kidron Valley into the Old City via Lion's Gate.

Alternative procession were those on Palm Sunday morning in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Here palm frond waving  Roman Catholic priests are circumambulating the tomb of Christ.

The Merchants Chased from the Temple by James Tissot

Matthew 21
 12 ¶And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
 13 And said unto them, It is written, My ahouse shall be called the house of bprayer; but ye have made it a cden of thieves.
 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the achildren crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
 17 ¶And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

For more insight on the events of the Holy Week click here


  1. Great post Br. Emmett! Being in Jerusalem for Holy Week was definitely one of the most meaningful experiences of our semester for me! Was so awesome to be surrounded by so many different Christians all unified in praising the Saviour.

    I especially love your picture of the priest circumambulating in the Holy Sepulcher. Love the motion of the fronds and how everything else is sharp. And the colors.. etc etc. . Great shot!

    Thanks for a wonderful semester! Wish I could have made it down there for that last get together the other week, hope you and your family are doing great!

  2. Many thanks for posting Chad. Brought back vivid memories.