Holy Fires Miracle
Miracle of Holy Fire that happens every year before Orthodox Easter in Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
"On Holy Saturday believers gather in great crowds in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For on this day fire comes down from Heaven and ignites all the lamps in the church."
The phenomena described above, by one of the numerous pilgrims visiting Jerusalem during Easter, is cherished by many Orthodox Christians as the greatest of all miracles and considered a continuous reminder of the resurrection of Christ.
The "Miracle of the Holy Fire" occurs during a ceremony, which has taken place every year at the same date, on the same location and in the same manner for nearly fifteen centuries. Making it one of the oldest recurring Christian ceremonies in the world. From the fourth century AD, the ceremony has been mentioned by various sources.
The Holy Fire Miracle today
The miracle still occurs today more or less as the medieval sources decribed it. Each year pilgrims come from all over the world, the majority from Greece, but in recent years increasing numbers from Russia and the former Eastern European Countries have also come.
In order to be as close to the tomb as possible, the pilgrims camp around the tomb-chapel on Good Friday afternoon in anticipation of the event on Holy Saturday.
The miracle happens at 2:00 PM, but by 11:00 AM the Church is already bustling with activity. From around 11:00 AM till 1:00 PM, the Christian Arabs sing traditional songs in loud voices. These songs date back to the Turkish occupation of Jerusalem in the 13th Century, a period in which Christians were not allowed to sing their songs anywhere but in the Churches.
Drum-players sit on the shoulders of others who dance ferociously around the Sepulchre Chapel.
At 1:00 PM a delegation of the local authorities elbows through the crowds.
These officials are not Christian, but they are never the less an important part of the ceremony. In the times of the Turkish occupation of Palestine they were Moslem Turks; today they are Israelis.
Through the centuries the presence of these officials has been an integral part of the ceremony, representing the Romans in the time of Jesus.
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The Miracle of the Holy Fire, by William Holman Hunt
Holy Fire in Jerusalem
Description of the Miracle of Holy Light (Holy Fire) that happens every year in Jerusalem. In order to be as close to the Sepulchre as possible, pilgrims camp next to it. The Sepulchre is located in the small chapel called Holy Ciborium, which is inside the Church of the Resurrection.
The Holy Fire
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Fully illustrated, colorful and attractive, and includes the weekly Torah portions and the Haftarot readings (weekly readings from the Writings and the Prophets).
Inside the Book
God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
The Illustrated Torah - Chumash (Five Books of Moses)
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The question of the authenticity of the miracle - As with any other miracle there are people who believe it is a fraud and nothing but a masterpiece of Orthodox propaganda. They believe the Patriarch has a lighter inside of the tomb. These critics, however, are confronted with a number of problems. Matches and other means of ignition are recent inventions. Only a few hundred years ago lighting a fire was an undertaking that lasted much longer than the few minutes during which the Patriarch is inside the tomb. One then could perhaps say, he had an oil lamp burning inside, from which he kindled the candles, but the local authorities confirmed that they had checked the tomb and found no light inside it.
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