Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, one week before his death, is celebrated by the Church on Palm Sunday, otherwise known as Passion Sunday. All four gospels describe Christ’s arrival in the city – riding on a donkey and greeted by cheering crowds who waved palm branches and spread their cloaks upon the ground. (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-16)
Christ’s conscious choice of such a public entry on a donkey was a highly symbolic act that was based on a passage from the prophet Zechariah (9:9-10). As Pope Benedict XVI once explained: “Jesus entered the Holy City riding on a donkey, that is, the animal of the simple, common country people, and moreover, it was an ass that did not belong to him but one he had asked to borrow for the occasion. He did not arrive in an ostentatious royal carriage or on horseback like the great figures of the world, but on a borrowed donkey.”
This striking image of Christ’s arrival into Jerusalem was made by the painter and stained glass artist Charles Blakeman between 1953-1956. It’s one of a series of New Testament stained glass scenes found on the north side of St Etheldreda’s, which is the oldest Catholic church in London.
Where to find this work of art
St Etheldreda’s, London
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