Orthodox worshippers greet ancient ceremony of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem

Orthodox Worshippers Greet Ancient Ceremony Of The Holy Fire In Jerusalem
Holy Fire ceremony, Ā© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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By AP Reporters

Christian Orthodox worshippers have thronged the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem for one of the most chaotic gatherings in the Christian calendar – the ancient ceremony of the Holy Fire.

The event takes place in the location where Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead, and involves a flame being taken from Jesus’ tomb and used to light the candles of Christian Orthodox believers.


Cheers and prayers rang out as candles were lit one by one from the tomb.

Fire ceremony
Christian Orthodox pilgrims hold candles during the ceremony (AP)

Soon, the dim chamber was lit by a constellation of handheld flames as part of the rite of Orthodox Easter week in Jerusalem. Worshippers believe the flame’s origin is a miracle.


Some young men holding crosses jumped up and down in the crowd and chanted.

One worshipper, Angela Manoug, said: “I am speechless, I don’t even know how to explain it.

Christian ceremony
Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead at this location (AP)


“It is my first time that I have seen the holy light, and I am very blessed by God to have seen it.”

The ceremony for believers in Greek Orthodox communities has been held for more than a millennium. The church is built on the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

There is not enough space for all who would like to attend, which has caused friction with Israeli authorities, and stampedes have occurred in the past.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The event takes place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (AP)


But Saturday’s event was joyous.

There was also some reflection on the Israel-Hamas war, taking place not far away.

“This year is very sad, but I wish with the light of the holy fire from Jerusalem will give peace all around the world, thank you and happy Easter, Jesus is risen,” said worshipper Issa Assasieh, with flames in both fists.


Israel Palestinians Holy Fire
The annual ceremony that has been observed for over a millennium (AP)

Israel captured the Old City, along with the rest of the city’s eastern half, in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move not internationally recognised.

Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state.

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