Descent of Holy Fire in Jerusalem

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Orthodox Christians gather with lit candles during the Holy Fire ceremony at the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem's Old City on April 15, 2023 on the eve of Easter Sunday.

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Orthodox Christians gather with lit candles during the Holy Fire ceremony at the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem's Old City on April 15, 2023 on the eve of Easter Sunday.

© AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov

Christian pilgrims hold candles during the Holy Fire ceremony, a day before Easter, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

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Christian pilgrims hold candles during the Holy Fire ceremony, a day before Easter, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

© AFP 2023 / Ahmad Gharabli

Christian worshippers wait behind a barrier set up by security forces barring the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Old Jerusalem, during the Orthodox Christian Easter Saturday celebrations.

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Christian worshippers wait behind a barrier set up by security forces barring the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Old Jerusalem, during the Orthodox Christian Easter Saturday celebrations.

© AP Photo / Mahmoud Illean

The ceremony has been celebrated the same way for at least 11 centuries.

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The ceremony has been celebrated the same way for at least 11 centuries.

© AFP 2023 / Menahem Kahana

Orthodox Christians gather with lit candles around the Edicule, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ.

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Orthodox Christians gather with lit candles around the Edicule, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ.

© AFP 2023 / Ahmad Gharabli

Christian worshippers carry candles lit with the Holy Fire.

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Christian worshippers carry candles lit with the Holy Fire.

© AP Photo / Mahmoud Illean

Orthodox Christian clergy and nuns hold candles as they arrive for the Holy Fire ceremony.

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Orthodox Christian clergy and nuns hold candles as they arrive for the Holy Fire ceremony.

© AFP 2023 / Ahmad Gharabli

A man who obtained the Holy Fire from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lights the candles of Christian worshippers waiting behind a barrier set up by Israeli security forces, during Orthodox Christian Easter Saturday celebrations.

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A man who obtained the Holy Fire from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lights the candles of Christian worshippers waiting behind a barrier set up by Israeli security forces, during Orthodox Christian Easter Saturday celebrations.

© AFP 2023 / Menahem Kahana

The historian Eusebius was first to mention the Holy Fire miracle in his work Life of Constantine, where he described an interesting incident in Jerusalem on Easter noon. According to the book, the clergy ran out of oil to fill the lamps and the fire was an important part of the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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The historian Eusebius was first to mention the Holy Fire miracle in his work Life of Constantine, where he described an interesting incident in Jerusalem on Easter noon. According to the book, the clergy ran out of oil to fill the lamps and the fire was an important part of the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

© AFP 2023 / Menahem Kahana

However, Bishop Narcissus of Jerusalem ordered to use water instead of oil. Then, he ordered his followers to ignite the lamps. They burst with fire as they were filled with pure oil.

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However, Bishop Narcissus of Jerusalem ordered to use water instead of oil. Then, he ordered his followers to ignite the lamps. They burst with fire as they were filled with pure oil.

© AP Photo / Mahmoud Illean

Orthodox Christian tradition states that this miracle was a sort of precursor to the Miracle of the Holy Fire.

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Orthodox Christian tradition states that this miracle was a sort of precursor to the Miracle of the Holy Fire.

© AP Photo / Mahmoud Illean

The Miracle of the Holy Fire has inspired faith and hope for centuries.

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The Miracle of the Holy Fire has inspired faith and hope for centuries.

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