The Sunday before Pascha, known as Palm Sunday, is always celebrated with great joy in Holy Trinity Monastery. The day before, Lazarus Saturday, is very joyous with a General Matins service served, and at the noon-day meal, traditionally an inexpensive form of caviar is served on bread, according to the typicon, the caviar, or fish eggs, symbolizing a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Resurrection, as in the event, the resurrection of St. Lazarus did.
Before lunch, on Lazarus Saturday, many of our neighbors and pilgrims gather in the former typographia along with seminarians to prepare the bouquets of pussy willows, picked on monastery grounds, as well as palms, tied together with green ribbons. These are blessed at the beginning of the Matins part of the evening’s Vigil and passed out to the faithful as the approach to be anointed.
On the Sunday itself, the church was packed with the faithful, many of whom joined the brethren in partaking of the fish meal in the monastery refectory, the one day during this year’s Lent when fish was permitted, Annunciation falling on Holy Saturday, and therefore not permitted.
The feast day concluded with a solemn Vespers service in the late afternoon, when the Church returned to the sounds and colors of Lent, Holy Week.