Each year, on the day before Orthodox Easter (Pascha), a bright light is said to emit from inside the tomb of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Described as a miracle by countless Orthodox Christian believers, the Άγιο Φως, or “Holy Fire” is a potent symbol of Christ’s resurrection (anastasis) from the dead.
According to church tradition, the Holy Fire is received by the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, who begins the ceremony by descending alone into the empty Edicule, a small shrine within the Holy Sepulchre that surrounds the tomb.
Before his arrival, the tomb is inspected for lighting equipment and the doors are sealed with beeswax and a cloth sash.
Soon afterwards, the flame miraculously appears inside the tomb, often with a bluish hue, and rises as a column from the marble slab that covers the stone believed to be the resting place of Christ.
The Patriarch, who has remained alone throughout, then lights bundles of 33 beeswax candles, representing the 33 years that Jesus spent on earth.
The Transfer to Greece
In response to the ongoing pandemic, the transfer of the Holy Fire to Greece this year will again be subject to changes and restrictions.
In a statement today, April 29, the Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Vlasis and Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia will travel to Jerusalem on Saturday, the eve of Orthodox Easter, and transfer the Holy Fire back to Athens.
In a break with tradition, the returning delegation will not be welcomed at Athens International Airport with the kind of arrival reception reserved for visiting heads of state. Instead, the ceremony will take place with “due humility and modesty” as the situation demands.
From the airport, the Holy Fire will be taken by 12 aircraft from two airlines to cities around Greece, including Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis, and Ioannina, where it will be transferred to local parishes.
A further change this year is the decision to hold the Resurrection service at 9 pm instead of the usual midnight.
The motorbike cavalcade arriving at the airport
Resurrection in Ithaca
and in Svoronata
Poros certainly marked the resurrection with a bang or two!
Source – Greeceis.com & FB posts of Βουτος Διονυσιος/ Stavros Delas Dellaportas/ George Kerasia Vartelas/ Spiros Kagadis/Sklavounos Pavlos