Pilgrims Gather in Jerusalem for Holy Fire Ritual
The Associated Press
Christian pilgrims hold candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the burial site of Jesus Christ, during the ceremony of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem's Old City, Saturday, April 14, 2012. During the annual ceremony, top clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus' tomb. They emerge after to reveal candles lit with "holy fire" miraculously lit as a message to the faithful from heaven. The details of the flame's source are a closely guarded secret.
Plumes of smoke wafted through the crammed Church of the Holy Sepulcher as jostling pilgrims carrying crosses, candles and mobile phones set to record the event passed the flame from one to another.
Flanking the chanting crowds were dozens of black-clad Israeli police, specialized khaki-clad riot-prevention forces and border security guards keeping order. Photographers teetered over the crowds trying to snap photos. Palestinian women ululated as the fire emerged. Young men banged on drums and a few heated pilgrims got into fistfights that were broken up by the Israeli forces.
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