The Palm Sunday service marking Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem shortly before His Crucifixion was celebrated in a service that stood out for the grandeur of its Byzantine music and Orthodox Christian liturgical rite on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at the St. George Cathedral in Stockholm, just two days after the terrorist attack in central Stockholm, which left four people dead and dozens wounded.
Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia presided over the service of Matins, blessed the palms, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy, during which he delivered his sermon and distributed the palms to the large number of faithful who had assembled to mark the start of Holy Week.
The Metropolitan was assisted in the services by the V. Rev. Fr. Sosipatros Stefanoudis and the Rev. Fr. Ierotheos Goutroumbis, while the hymns were chanted by the chanters' choirs under the direction of Mr. Demetrios Gigis.
At the conclusion of services, a statement issued by the Holy Metropolis of Sweden on Saturday regarding the terrorist attack in Stockholm was read, the text of which is as follows:
In the aftermath of the appalling event that blemishes the coming celebration of Holy Pascha (Easter), our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of our fellow citizens who were unjustly killed and injured in Friday's attack.
The blind and intolerant violence that targeted the peaceful land of Sweden will ultimately bring about the opposite of what its perpetrators intended because it will unite all of society's healthy forces against fanaticism.
During these difficult moments, the steadfast relationship of trust and cooperation between this eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Scandinavian peninsula, the Kingdom of Sweden, and local society, with whom we share the same concerns, is reaffirmed.
Afterwards, Metropolitan Cleopas held a "Trisagion" memorial service for the repose of the souls of the victims of the terrorist attack and called on the faithful to offer their prayers for their fellow citizens and brethren who were tragically stricken, as well as for the swift recovery of those injured.
At 2 p.m. that afternoon, over ten thousand people attended a gathering that was held in Sergel's torg, Stockholm's most central public square, in a show of support towards the families of the victims killed or injured in Friday's attack, as well as to send a resounding message of solidarity against terrorism.
At the end of services, the Cathedral's Sunday School students presented a performance in honor of Pascha (Easter), under the leadership of Dr. Vasiliki Praxitelous and the assistance of a group from Stockholm's Greek Ladies Lyceum.
Photo credit: Nikoloas Kitsios