x

World

Vaccinated Faithful Throng Jerusalem Church for Holy Fire (Video)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Christian worshippers made use of Israel’s easing of coronavirus restrictions Saturday, packing a Jerusalem church revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection for an ancient fire ceremony a day before Orthodox Easter.

The faithful gathered at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, waiting for clergymen to emerge with the Holy Fire from the Edicule, a chamber built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was buried and rose from the dead after being crucified.

Only a few people in the church wore masks, and there was no distancing. Entry was restricted to those who were fully vaccinated.

As bells rang and the top clerics from different Orthodox denominations appeared, the worshippers scrambled to light their candles and pass the fire on. Within a minute, the imposing walls of the old church glowed. The source of the flame is a closely guarded secret.

Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III led the event.

The scene at the church was a stark contrast to last year’s, when only a handful of religious leaders held the centuries-old ceremony in a near-empty setting enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel has significantly lifted most restrictions, including mask-wearing in public, after a world-leading vaccination drive. However, air travel to the country remains limited and requiring quarantine.

In normal years, Christian holidays, including Christmas and Easter, draw tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims to holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Many countries will be restricting normal Orthodox Easter celebrations. Neighboring Lebanon for example went into a round-the-clock curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus, from Saturday until Tuesday morning. Churches will be allowed to hold Easter mass and prayers only at 30% capacity, and require special permits.

RELATED

Our community, as an integral and dynamic part of Australian society, proudly celebrates this day, which marks the formation, cooperation, mutual respect and unity of the Australian nation.

Top Stories

Associations

ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.

Associations

BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.

Society

ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.

Video

Democrats Eye Supreme Court Pick to Revive 2022 Prospects

Democrats stung by a series of election year failures to deliver legislative wins for their most loyal voters hope they'll be buoyed by the prospect that President Joe Biden will name the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.