Discover the Miraculous Holy Fire Ceremony-2017

By Kenes Christian Tours April 2, 2017

The Holy Fire is described by Orthodox Christians as the most renowned miracle in the world.

It occurs every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem at the same time of the year for centuries; always taking place on Great Saturday, just preceding Orthodox Easter Sunday.  This year, it falls on Saturday, April 15th, the evening prior to Easter.

Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Holy Light Christian Feast Ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, the Old City. Photo by Dafna Tal

The site of the ceremony, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, is the shrine that, according to tradition, houses the tomb in which Jesus’ body is believed to have been interred after the crucifixion and from where He miraculously rose to heaven.  The fire is a symbolic ceremony celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

 

Holy Saturday-April 15th-Schedule of Events:

  • 7:30am-Easter Morning Vigil
  • 3:30pm-Entry and solemn procession
  • 6:00pm-Evening prayers in front of the Holy Tomb
  • Late Saturday night-the Holy Fire ceremony.  Thousands await the miraculous lighting of the Patriarch’s candle from within the tomb.
  • 12:30am (Sunday)-Pontifical celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours at the Altar of Mary Magdalene, presided by the Custos of the Holy Land.

 

During the annual ceremony, ranking Eastern Orthodox priests enter the Edicule-the holy shrine that tradition claims houses the cave where Jesus was buried and from where he rose to heaven.  They then surface from the shrine to reveal candles which are said to be miraculously lit with “Holy Fire” as a message to the forever faithful from heaven.  Of course, the origin of the flame’s source is a closely guarded secret-never revealed to anyone.

 

One quick note of awareness: The Church, in keeping with its authentic and centuries-old construction, has no fire or emergency exits; there is only one way in and out.  For those who are sensitive to such situations, or who are claustrophobic, it is important to know that as this is one of the most popular events of the Christian calendar, visits to the Church always come with a bit of pushing and shoving and an overall lack of personal space.

 

Celebrating the Holy Week of Easter in Israel is a dream come true for many people of faith.  Thousands come from around the world each year to participate in these sacred events. To walk in the footsteps of Jesus and his last moments on this Earth is a once in a lifetime experience.

 

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