Opening the Gates of Heaven
April 9th, 2006 - Post No. 49
We return to the Cathedral at 4 p.m. on Palm Sunday afternoon for a two hour service marking the ceremonial close of the Great Lent, and the beginning of Holy Week. The 40 days of Lent are now complete, and the great sign of the Lenten season,the closed sanctuary curtain -- opened only in Lent for major feasts (like this morning's Palm Sunday celebration) -- will now be opened.
His Holiness Aram Catholicos comes across from his residence for the service, and the seminarians are all on hand, knelling for a good deal of time on the hard marble floor.
About mid-way through the service, Bishop Nareg (centre) with Fr. Krikor (left) and Fr. Norayr (right) take position in front of the closed sanctuary curtain. Then follows a series of chants punctuated with Bishop Nareg knocking on a piece of wood, knocking at the gates of heaven.
Then with great choral solemnity, the curtain is drawn open (movie, 6.6 MB) and the Kingdom of God here among us -- his Holy Sanctuary -- is once again revealed for all of the community to behold.