Religion

Holy Fire illuminates on Orthodox Holy Saturday in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, May 1 (EFE).- Hundreds of Orthodox Christians on Saturday took part in the Holy Fire ceremony at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with no major coronavirus restrictions in place.

Around 14:00 local time (11:00 GMT), the Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III left the interior of the Aedicule that protects the tomb of Jesus with holy flam, holding two lit bouquets of 33 candles, one for each year of Jesus’ life.

The sacred fire descends each year from heaven and ignites a flame that illuminates the gloom of the Holy Sepulcher, known to the Orthodox as the Church of the Resurrection, according to the Christian tradition.

This ceremony is the most emotional of Orthodox Holy Week, and it contrasted greatly with last year’s reduced-rituals held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus.

Israel’s advanced vaccination rollout allowed religious ceremonies to return almost to pre-coronavirus normality in Jerusalem and its Old City.

However, overseas faithful were unable to take part in the ceremony as Israel has closed its borders to foreign visitors to prevent the spread of the virus. EFE

jma/ta/ks

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