Tuesday September 2, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Holy Fire reaches Athens as Orthodox Christians prepare for Easter

The Holy Fire arrived in Athens from Jerusalem on Saturday evening ahead of Orthodox Christians in Greece and elsewhere celebrating Easter.

It arrived on a Greek government airplane at around 7.30 p.m. The light is distributed across Greece so churches can hold nightime ceremonies marking Christs resurrection. Churches in Attica take their flames from a church in Plaka, central Athens.

Throngs of Orthodox Christians filled Jerusalem's ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre and surrounding streets on Saturday for the Holy Fire ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

Believers hold that a divine fire from heaven ignites candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch, in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century AD symbolising the resurrection of Christ.

Israeli police deployed in large numbers to secure an estimated 10,000 faithful packed into the church, with a similar number in the streets around the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The event, the highlight of the Eastern Christian calendar, was attended by pilgrims from around the world -- predominantly Eastern Europe -- as well as Arab Israelis, all carrying unlit candles.

Greek Patriarch Theophilos III made his traditional grand entry at the head of a procession of monks, chanters and dignitaries with red and gold banners bearing icons.

After circling the shrine in the heart of the church three times, he entered along with the Armenian Patriarch what Orthodox, Roman Catholics and many other Christians believe is Jesus's burial site, emerging minutes later with a lit candle.

The holy flame was swiftly passed from candle to candle between ecstatic believers, most of whom had waited for several hours for the ceremony which filled the air with light and smoke.

Some pilgrims passed their hands through the fire, saying it does not burn them.

The Holy Fire was passed outside to the crowds who watched the ceremony on huge screens, and was then taken to nearby Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, where Jesus is believed to have been born, and also flown out to Orthodox countries.

While the Church of the Sepulchre is one of Christianity's holiest sites, it is shared uneasily by six denominations -- the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox, Egyptian Copts, Syrian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.

In the past, fist fights have broken out among monks from the different denominations over perceived changes to the fragile status quo hammered out down the centuries.

Roman Catholics in Jerusalem and Bethlehem celebrated Easter on March 31, according to the Gregorian calendar.

But this year other Catholics in the Holy Land, including those from Nazareth, decided for the first time to mark Easter this Sunday under the Orthodox calendar, in an act of ecumenical unity.

[Kathimerini English Edition & AFP]

ekathimerini.com , Saturday May 4, 2013 (21:00)  
Anti-racism bill approved in principle, final vote Friday
PASOK seeks to contain damage in wake of tumultous event
Nicosia disappointed at Erdogans two-state solution comments
Giorgos Stylios named new deputy education minister
Pension system nears breaking point
The ticking time bomb of the social security system will not explode in 2025, but 10 years earlier, or next year, according to a study by the Institute of Labor of the General Confederation ...
Deadline looms for struggling Cyprus Airways
Potential buyers of Cyprus Airways have until Wednesday to submit nonbinding offers for the loss-making national carrier, with Ryanair and Aegean Airlines in the running. Irelands budget ca...
Inside Business
Grateful Saviola thanks Olympiakos, joins Verona
Former Argentina international Javier Saviola has thanked Greek champions Olympiakos for the "beautiful moments" during his season-long stint in Greece as he left the club to join Serie A ou...
SOCCER
Greece defender Papadopoulos fires parting shot at Michel
International defender Avraam Papadopoulos suddenly quit Olympiakos on Monday to join Turkish club Trabzonspor, and fired a parting shot at Olympiakos manager Michel putting the blame on the...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Politicized archaeology
Let us suppose that archaeologists discover that the tomb uncovered in Amphipolis was not the resting place of Roxana or Nearchos, but of Alexander the Great. Let us assume, that is, that ar...
EDITORIAL
Moderating expectations
Politics is, to a great extent, all about managing expectations, and anyone who raises that bar too high or too fast is at serious risk of disappointing and losing the peoples favor. In a c...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Pension system nears breaking point
2. Anti-racism bill approved in principle, final vote Friday
3. PASOK seeks to contain damage in wake of tumultous event
4. Deadline looms for struggling Cyprus Airways
5. Bank of Cyprus expects to relist on Nicosia, Athens exchanges
6. Nicosia disappointed at Erdogans two-state solution comments
more news
Today
This Week
1. Politicized archaeology
2. Rain and storms with hail expected in many parts of Greece
3. Reforms to dominate Greek talks in Paris, debt relief talks later, says source
4. New committee formed to assess progress of deregulation in closed-shop professions
5. Moderating expectations
6. Greece needs private debt overhaul, Piraeus Bank CEO says
Today
This Week
1. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
2. The battle against progress
3. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.