Jerusalem, April 18, 2020
The Holy Fire has descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as seen on the live stream on the Facebook page of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem entered the church a little after 1:00 PM (6:00 AM Eastern), and after vesting and processing thrice around the Lord's Tomb, he entered the Tomb itself at 1:45 PM (6:45 AM).
The Holy Light descended at about 1:50 PM (6:50 AM Eastern), after only five minutes.
Normally, after the Fire’s descent the Patriarch passes the holy gift to the faithful, though the ceremoy was celebrated without parishioners and pilgrims this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The descent of the Fire was preceded by a complex ceremony: The doors of the Sepulchre were sealed by with a large wax seal as a sign that its inspection had finished, and in it was found nothing that would allow the Patriarch of Jerusalem to light the fire by any ordinary means.
Shortly before the arrival of Patriarch Theophilos, the seal was removed from the door of the edicule, and a large lampada and thirty-three candles were carried into the tomb. Then the Patriarch entered and began to wait. Those present continually prayed for the granting of the Fire until the time of its appearing.
The Holy Fire will be delivered to around the world to various Local Orthodox Churches.