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Apolytikion of the Church of the Resurrection

Thou hast revealed the earthly majesty of the dwelling place of the holy glory, O Lord, as the brilliance of the firmament on high. Make firm its foundation unto ages of ages, and receive our fervent supplications which are offered to thee, there in, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O life and Resurrection of all.

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The Holy Fire & Pascha at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Miracle of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem

"On Holy Saturday believers gather in great crowds in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For on this day fire comes down from Heaven and puts fire on lamps in the Church." Thus one reads in one of the many Easter itineraries to the Holy Land.

"The Miracle of the Holy Fire" by Christians from the Orthodox Churches is known as "The greatest of all Christian miracles". It takes place every single year, on the same time, in the same manner, and on the same spot. No other miracle is known to occur so regularly and for such an extensive period of time; one can read about it in sources as old as from the eighth Century AD. The miracle happens in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, to millions of believers the holiest place on earth. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre itself is an enigmatic place. Theologians, historians and archaeologists consider the church to contain both Golgatha, the little hill on which Jesus Christ was crucified, as well as the "new tomb" close to Golgatha that received his dead body, as one reads in the Gospels. It is on this same spot that Christians believe he rose from the dead.

One can trace the miracle throughout the centuries in the many itineraries to the Holy Land. The Russian abbot Daniel, in his itinerary, written in the years 1106-07, in very detailed manners presents the "Miracle of the Holy Light" and the ceremonies that frame it. He recalls how the Patriarch goes into the Sepulchre-chapel (the Anastasis) with two closed candles. The Patriarch kneels in front of the stone on which Christ was laid after his death and says certain prayers, upon which the miracle occurs. Light proceeds from the core of the stone a blue, indefinable light which after some time kindles closed oil lamps as well as the two candles of the Patriarch. This light is "The Holy Fire", and it spreads to all people present in the Church. The ceremony surrounding "The Miracle of the Holy Fire" may be the oldest unbroken Christian ceremony in the world. From the fourth century AD all the way up to our own time, sources recall the awe-awakening potent. From these sources it becomes clear that the miracle has been celebrated on the same spot, on the same feast day, and in the same liturgical frames throughout all these centuries. One can ask, if it would happen also in the year 1998.

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