Palm Sunday in Tudor Times

Posted By on March 24, 2013

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (1320) by Pietro Lorenzetti

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week and commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem the week before the Resurrection. It is an event which features in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and in Tudor times the priest would read out the story and then bless branches of greenery to be used in processions. In many countries today, we celebrate Palm Sunday with palm leaves or crosses made out of palm leaves, but these leaves were hard to come by in Tudor England, so they would use local greenery to make crosses.

A special shrine would also be prepared for Palm Sunday. This shrine contained the blessed Sacrament to represent Jesus Christ, and the church’s own relics. The clergy carried this special shrine around the outside of the church as the laity processed around the church in the opposite direction, with the two processions meeting at the church door. The Lent veil (a veil hiding the chancel from the nave during Lent) was drawn up and then dropped down again as they passed.

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