Christians showed up in huge numbers in Jerusalem for an ancient Holy Fire ceremony. This fire ceremony is the one that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.
Each year, Orthodox Christians flushes into the church in celebration of the day of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
These Orthodox Christians turned up in the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to commemorate their Holy Fire ceremony. It was on the eve of their Easter celebrations.
Holy Fire is a ritual that dates back at least 1,200 years, says New York Times.
On Saturday, thousands gathered into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This same church, according to Christian tradition, is the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Top Eastern Orthodox clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber demarcated as the site of Jesus’ tomb during the annual ceremony.
It is during that time, the followers emerge to reveal candles said to be mystically lit with Holy Fire. It is seen as a message to the faithful from heaven.
The details regarding the source of the flame are a closely guarded secret, says Telegraph UK.
According to Christian Orthodox beliefs, on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter – a fire appears abruptly from what is believed to be Jesus’ tomb. It is served to the followers as a reminder that he has not forgotten them.
Earlier in March, Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.
However, Eastern Orthodox churches mark Easter this week using the older Julian calendar.
There was a tight security at the site. It was noticed that pilgrims and police were pushing and entering inside the church, ahead of the ceremony.
Approximately 3,500 Israeli policemen have been posted to the venue for the event. Their job is to keep watch on the thousands of faithful who have visited Jerusalem’s Old City for the occasion.
Israeli police secured the venue with iron barricades on all the streets of the old city, which are connected to the church.
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According to Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samiri, fortunately, the ritual got over without any incident.
The Holy Fire will be making its journey to other Orthodox countries such as Russia, Greece, Armenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Serbia, Moldova and Jordan.