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Christian Orthodox Holy Fire Ceremony

19 April, 200919 April, 2009 0 comments Jesus Jesus
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Saturday Night - April 18th.


The crowds swelled and pilgrims came from all over the world to join in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire Ceremony. The festivities occurred at the sacred Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the believed site of Jesus's crucifixion, buriel and resurrection by many - located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Church was built on the orders of Emperor Constantine in 325, and has attracted a steady stream of pilgrims since its construction with the exception of a few periods in history. Control of the grounds and interior is sharply divided between Catholics and various Orthodox denominations, in a tenuous status quo that often degenerates into physical violence between monks, and has prevented much-needed structural repairs.


Considered a miracle that occurs annually on Holy Saturday - the day after Orthodox Easter Sunday when at precisely 2 pm local time, a sun beam believed to shine through the windown in the ceiling of the Church lights a lamp placed inside the tomb of Jesus. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theofilos III entered the tomb structure of Jesus at the Church and after the lighting of the lamp, he lights a few candles with the holy fire and passes them to worshippers in the Church. The fire then spreads rapidly amongst the church-goers. An olive lamp is expected to bring the flame to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, where street celebrations are also held.


Traditionally, the pilgrims were expected to bring back the fire to their own communities in Eastern Europe and Russia.

 


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