Holy Fire Relit in Jerusalem to Celebrate Christ's Resurrection

In Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Holy Fire was relit this Holy Saturday to celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead.

The "New Fire" appeared in Christ's Tomb in the Holy Sepulcher, where Orthodox Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem and Palestine was praying in solitude. It then instantly spread throughout the Church and out into the square, with thousands of believers passing it on from candle to candle. Some of the faithful, holding 33 candles (symbolizing the age of Jesus when he was crucified), would wash their faces with the Blessed Fire, a symbol of the new life that begins with Easter. They say that in the first few minutes following its birth, the "New Fire" caresses the skin without hurting it.

The ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in Jerusalem, was attended by a large Russian delegation, comprised of members of the artistic elite, community activists, and government officials (such as Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and Georgy Poltavchenko, the Russian President's envoy to the Central Federal District). They will be leaving Jerusalem within the next few hours to deliver the Blessed Fire to Moscow tonight, in time for the Holy Vigil service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The flame will be transported in a special tank, provided by the International Olympic Committee. After it has been brought into Moscow, the Holy Fire will be distributed among Orthodox churches in St. Petersburg and in several cities of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Serbia, and other countries with a large Orthodox Christian population.

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