Sunday November 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
10o 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)  
Cyprus on agenda in Biden visit to Istanbul
PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge
Troika tests govt nerves as budget rift persists
Climate change to hit farming, Greek coastline
ANALYSIS
Athens deserves slack from creditors
Talks between the government and the troika about the pending review of the Greek economic policy program have stalled over a number of issues, most prominently next years fiscal gap. Altho...
Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
The government intends to provide a boost to the local real estate market by reducing the tax on property transactions as of 2015, with the aim of attracting foreign investors by cutting the...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Olympiakos ends PAOKs unbeaten run in Basket League
Olympiakos put an end to PAOKs unbeaten run in the Basket League with an emphatic win at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, leaving Panathinaikos as the only team with a perfect record so fa...
INTERVIEW
Tokyo hopes to change the world
The 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will serve as a springboard for the rebuilding of Japans image and economy following the triple blow of the earthquake, tsunami and nuc...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Extremism from a bygone era
There are times when we seem to be overcome by self-destructive madness. I hear various commentators and politicians speaking in extreme terms of a junta, of defections, gallows, collaborato...
EDITORIAL
No call for more games
Psychological warfare has been a part of the negotiations between the troika and Athens from the very start of the crisis. But the situation is much different now and troika decision-makers ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Olympiakos ends PAOKs unbeaten run in Basket League
2. Athens deserves slack from creditors
3. Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
4. Key general meeting at OLP on Tuesday
5. Agenda
6. Carlsberg to use Greece as regional junction
more news
Today
This Week
1. Extremism from a bygone era
2. No call for more games
3. Carlsberg to use Greece as regional junction
4. Agenda
5. Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
6. Key general meeting at OLP on Tuesday
Today
This Week
1. Double quake on Atalanti fault line rattles Greek capital [Update]
2. Greece and Poland switch roles as young Greeks head to vibrant Eastern European country for better prospects
3. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
4. Anti-junta uprising anniversary to be marked amid tight security
5. Carlsberg takes control of Greek brewer Olympic Brewery [Update]
6. Every age has its collaborators
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.