Abbot Mark Kerr
Holy Fire Descended in Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Updated: Apr 24
The Holy Fire has descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as seen on the Ukrainian channel Svidok (video below). The Holy Light descended at about 2:50 PM (7:50 AM Eastern Standard time) on Jerusalem (April 15, 2023).*
Photo from squarespace-cdn.com via OrthoChristian.com
It appeared in the edicule (the small chapel built over the burial place of Christ) after the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, entered there at 2:50 PM (7:50 AM EST) to patiently pray and wait.
After the Fire’s descent, the Patriarch passed the holy gift to the faithful who lit from it their bundles of 33 candles, per the age of Christ at the time of His Crucifixion and Resurrection.
The descent of the Light was preceded by a complex ceremony: The doors of the Sepulchre were sealed with a large wax seal as a sign that its inspection had finished, and in it was found nothing that would allow the Patriarch of Jerusalem to light the Fire by any ordinary means.
Shortly before the arrival of Patriarch Theophilos, the seal was removed from the door of the edicule, and a large lampada and 33 candles were carried into the Tomb. Then the Patriarch entered and began to wait. Those present continually prayed for the granting of the Fire until the time of its appearing.
This year, like last year, the Israeli police tried to restrict attendance at the Holy Fire service, though the Jerusalem Patriarchate rejected the restrictions and opened the Church to thousands of pilgrims.
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* This article about the Holy Fire was originally written by and published on the Orthodox Christianity website and posted on 15 April 2023.