Wednesday, April 27, 2016

6 Things to Know About the “Miracle of the Holy Fire”, next Saturday in Jerusalem.

6 Things to Know About the “Miracle of the Holy Fire” next Saturday in Jerusalem.(StPeterslist).

The following is a brief examination of the controversial “Miracle of the Holy Fire.” The Greek Orthodox Patriarch enters the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday – according to the Orthodox calendar.

He proceeds into the Tomb of Christ and begins to pray. A fire is then miraculously enkindled by the Holy Spirit – supposedly the power of the resurrection – and is shared rapidly throughout the Church and all those who are waiting outside.

To be clear, it is said that Pope Gregory the IX declared “Holy Fire” a fraud in AD 1238, but a primary source is needed to confirm this papal statement. Today, the miracle is not recognized by the Catholic Church, but is considered a pious tradition of certain Orthodox Churches.

The first written account of the Holy Fire (Holy Light) dates from the fourth century, but authors write about events that occurred in the first century. So Ss. John Damascene and Gregory of Nissa narrate how the Apostle Peter saw the Holy Light in the Holy Sepulchre after Christ’s resurrection. “One can trace the miracle throughout the centuries in the many itineraries of the Holy Land.”

The Russian abbot Daniel, in his itinerary written in the years 1106-07, presents the “Miracle of the Holy Light” and the ceremonies that frame it in a very detailed manner. He recalls how the Patriarch goes into the Sepulchre-chapel (the Anastasis) with two candles.

The Patriarch kneels in front of the stone on which Christ was laid after his death and says certain prayers, at which point the miracle occurs. Light proceeds from the core of the stone – a blue, indefinable light which after some time kindles unlit oil lamps as well as the Patriarch’s two candles.

This light is “The Holy Fire”, and it spreads to all people present in the Church. The ceremony surrounding “The Miracle of the Holy Fire” may be the oldest unbroken Christian ceremony in the world. From the fourth century A.D. all the way up to our own time, sources recall this awe-inspiring event.

From these sources it becomes clear that the miracle has been celebrated on the same spot, on the same feast day, and in the same liturgical frame throughout all these centuries. The following material is quoted from various sources. Read the full story here.

For an excellent collection of photos: MSNBC/Reuters – Holy Fire.

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