The Holy Fire
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands upon what tradition holds is the site where Jesus Christ was buried
and rose from the dead. In fact, Orthodox Christians are more likely to refer to it as The Church of the
Resurrection. Every year, a miraculous event occurs there on the Saturday before Pascha that is largely
unknown to the non-Orthodox world and has only been bestowed upon Orthodox clergy. The first written account
of it dates to the fourth century and it has been documented consistently since the 12th century.
At 11:00 am on Easter Saturday, a service begins with Arab Christians chanting and singing hymns. At 1:00 pm,
Israeli government authorities who represent the Roman officials in the time of Jesus enter Christ's tomb
and inspect it to ensure it contains no matches or other source of fire. They then seal the door to the tomb
with wax. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem enters the church at 1:45 pm and removes his liturgical
vestments. He then enters the tomb of Christ carrying two candles and begins to recite ancient prayers that
have been handed down for centuries.
Usually immediately afterwards, an "indefinable light pours forth" from the stone on which Jesus lay, lighting
the Patriarch's candles. Patriarch Diodorus has expressed that this light is the same as the one that enveloped
the angel who appeared in the tomb when Christ rose from the dead (Mt 28:3). The patriarch emerges from the tomb
to share the light, but the miracles continue. The light emitted from the tomb, which is blue, darts around of
its own accord inside of the church and is reported to flash like lightning. There are numerous eyewitness
accounts of pilgrims whose candles have then spontaneously lit without assistance, as have unlit olive oil lamps.
Moreover, for up to 33 minutes after it's issuance from the Tomb of Christ, this flame does not burn. There are
photos of believers "washing" with the fire from their candles, as they touch it over their face, hair, and
hands. This ceremony is televised live to many Orthodox Christian countries and special flights await at the
Jerusalem airport to transport candles lit from this service to the faithful in those lands. Many of the
visiting pilgrims and attendees at this service report that their lives have been forever changed as a result.
Click the links below to read, view photos and watch videos of. . . . .
"The Holy Fire."
The Holy Fire
The Miracle of the Holy Fire
Miracle of the Holy Fire