In pictures: Stunning scenes from Orthodox Easter Holy Fire ceremonies

Source: Christian Today

The Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony takes place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on Holy Saturday. The Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony takes place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on Holy Saturday.
    

Thousands gathered at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem this weekend to mark the Orthodox Christian ceremony of the Holy Fire. Orthodox Christians determine the date of Easter using the Julian calendar, this year it fell the week after the western church celebrated Easter.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is also called the Church of the Resurrection by Orthodox Christians, is believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and his tomb.

Reuters / Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Reuters / Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
    

The ceremony of Holy Fire, which has been celebrated annually for centuries, is described as a 'miracle', as it is believed that a blue flame emanates from the tomb on the day before Easter, as a reminder that Jesus has not forgotten his followers.

Senior Orthodox clergy emerge from the site of the tomb, with lit flames, which are then used to light the bundles of candles held by the many pilgrims who had gather for the ceremony.

Reuters / Palestinian Orthodox Christians light candles as they celebrate the arrival of the 'Holy Fire' from Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Reuters / Palestinian Orthodox Christians light candles as they celebrate the arrival of the 'Holy Fire' from Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
    

Pilgrims who couldn't fit inside the church lined the streets of Jerusalem's Old City.The holy fire was also taken to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and then to other Orthodox communities around Israel and the West Bank.

The fire is also transported to Orthodox nations including Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Greece on specially chartered flights.

Reuters / Believers light candles during the Holy Fire ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter service at the Volodymysky Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. Reuters / Believers light candles during the Holy Fire ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter service at the Volodymysky Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.
    

4/15/2015

See also
Amid Israeli restrictions, Holy Fire to be broadcast in Bethlehem Amid Israeli restrictions, Holy Fire to be broadcast in Bethlehem Amid Israeli restrictions, Holy Fire to be broadcast in Bethlehem Amid Israeli restrictions, Holy Fire to be broadcast in Bethlehem
A coalition of churches and organizations in Jerusalem and Bethlehem have announced that the Holy Saturday festivities in Jerusalem will be televised to worshipers inside the West Bank, allowing those prevented from attending by Israeli restrictions to take part as well.
The Holy Flame: the Greatness of the Miracle, and the Helplessness of the Skeptics The Holy Flame: the Greatness of the Miracle, and the Helplessness of the Skeptics
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov)
The Holy Flame: the Greatness of the Miracle, and the Helplessness of the Skeptics The Holy Flame: the Greatness of the Miracle, and the Helplessness of the Skeptics
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov)
The skeptics gather “witnesses” in order to cast doubt on the miracle of descending the Holy Fire, they once again display incompetence in basic methods of scholarly and scientific research. Unbelief and skepticism are barren, infertile. “As someone withdrawing from the light does not in the least do harm to the light, but does very great harm to himself, becoming immersed in darkness, so also one accustomed to scorning the power of the Almighty does not in the least do harm to it [His power], but upon himself brings extreme harm” (John Chrysostom).
In Defense of the Holy Fire In Defense of the Holy Fire
Deacon Giorgi Maximov
In Defense of the Holy Fire In Defense of the Holy Fire
Deacon Giorgi Maximov
Last time in the Russian-language Internet, a whole campaign was conducted to discredit the miracle of the Holy Fire. The fundamental idea of these “exposés” is that purportedly there are Orthodox who themselves deny the genuineness of this miracle but at the same time continue to “dupe simple, ingenuous people.” What arguments are offered to support this idea of duping and conscious deceit?
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