Tuesday Jul 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
22o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Holy Fire reaches Athens as Orthodox Christians prepare for Easter

The ďHoly FireĒ 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 Christís 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)  
Ministry approves 1.3 million euros for animal shelters
Quake measuring 4.3 Richter recorded south of Crete
Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europeīs laggards
Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
BRUSSELS - Eurozone public debt rose to 93.9 percent of economic output in the first quarter of this year, approaching the peak it is expected to reach later in 2014, official data showed on...
Portugal, Greece have money if banks need it, Regling says
Portugal and Greece have money set aside to recapitalize their banks if the European Central Bank uncovers problems during its asset-quality review and stress test, European Stability Mechan...
Inside Business
TRACK & FIELD
Pole vault record on same day as three doping cases
Greek track and field had a mixed weekend, as on the same day as Katerina Stefanidi matched the national record in pole vault as well as the leading result in Europe so far this season, thre...
SOCCER
Standard Liege on Panathinaikosís way
The draw for the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Friday has put Belgian league runner-up Standard Liege on Panathinaikosís way to the competitionís play-offs, meaning the G...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Unequal after death
The dead are dead and the slain are slain, whether they are Malaysian, Dutch, Palestinian or Israeli, whether they are the innocent victims of a civilian plane that is shot down (we still do...
EDITORIAL
Chinese investment
The relationship between Greece and China has become one of major strategic importance. Beijing threw its support behind Athens during a period when the country was going through particularl...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
†RECENT NEWS
1. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
2. Ministry approves 1.3 million euros for animal shelters
3. Portugal, Greece have money if banks need it, Regling says
4. Shares in Greek renewable energy firm drop in trade debut
5. Quake measuring 4.3 Richter recorded south of Crete
6. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
more news
Today
This Week
1. Unequal after death
2. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards
3. Chinese investment
4. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
5. Shares in Greek renewable energy firm drop in trade debut
6. Quake measuring 4.3 Richter recorded south of Crete
Today
This Week
1. China and Greece agree to further cooperation in transportation, infrastructure
2. Ex-Credit Suisse banker taps lesson for Greek rebound
3. The cost of excellence
4. Pay-TV booms as cash-strapped Greeks shun depressing news shows
5. Greece seen in third bailout as bonds not enough, economists say
6. Summer storms cause problems in Thessaloniki, spread across the country
†††Find us ...
††... on
Twitter
†† ††... on Facebook ††
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.