In a recent Paschal interview with Huffington Post Greece, Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia, who was formerly a NASA scientist, was asked about the Holy Light of Jerusalem, commonly known in the West as the Holy Fire, as to whether or not it is an authentic miracle, in response to the more recent accusations of a Bishop of Jerusalem that it is a hoax of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Metropolitan was asked:
Every year at this time there is much talk about the Holy Light, whether or not it is lit with a lighter or by divine intervention. Whether it is a miracle or a trick. Perhaps the Church is ashamed to say how things are different?
Let me first tell you that we do not need any miracles, especially a fixed miracle, but we are glad when something happens that surpasses sense and logic.
As to what takes place with the Holy Light, I will tell you, I do not know. This is known only to the Patriarch who is alone in the Holy Sepulchre. He knows what happens in there.
We know what happens outside of the Tomb of the Lord. One time I was present at the ceremony of the Holy Light and this year I will go again [this interview with His Eminence took place on Holy Monday], but I believe that something transcendent definitely takes place.
It would not be strange to me that the Holy Light emerged on its own, just as Christ was resurrected, just as the world was made from nothing. I would not sit down and occupy myself about this anymore.
It so happened that when I went, one of those who have recently come forward and said different things about the matter, was right next to me mocking the Holy Light. When the Patriarch came out, I wondered what was the light that he was bringing out to us, and if all this was true?
Of course the style of this Bishop did not make me put my trust in him. He was a guy who had no seriousness, no solemnity nor respect.
The amazing thing is that after the Patriarch came out with the Light, a couple who were acquaintances of mine from Anthousa [in East Attica, Greece] approached me, who were somewhat distant on the balcony, and they told me about an amazing experience they had experienced.
Before the Patriarch came out, with the Holy Light, next to them was a woman whose candles suddenly lit up on their own.
So I asked them: "Where did you get the Holy Light from?" "From her," they replied. "Why don't you come here so I can light mine up from yours, which is definitely authentic; as for the other one I don't know what it is," I said (laughing).
Therefore I don't know if God lights up for the Patriarch, but I am sure He lights up for the people! One explanation is that at one time it may have lit up and because these guys were going about mocking, it stopped lighting for them.
Perhaps God doesn't give it to them. But this is something I do not know about nor do I occupy myself further on it, but I am very much pleased that I will go this year to bring [to Greece] the True Light from the All-Holy Tomb!
Now if you ask me if it has symbolic value and significance, I will say that yes it does. We all take from one source and light up from one another, and this unites us. Also, we keep it lit as long as we can.
Some keep it lit throughout the entire year. What a beautiful thing this is! Yesterday a woman approached me at church and said: "I have kept the Holy Light lit from last year. What should I do this year? Should I extinguish it and replace it with the other one?" "Put the new one there also, do whatever you want with what we give you," I said (laughing).
The Holy Light is a very great blessing for the Church. Nothing happens to us if we believe in it. If all this was a bad thing, if it was a fairy tale, there is something worse.
Such as if this miracle happened in the past and the reason it doesn't happen now is because these Bishops of Jerusalem are refuting it on television.
Our consolation is that no matter what they say, it does light up for the faithful people. You, if you were God, would you give it to those who mocked it?
We may have made the mistake to believe that God has been still giving it to us until now. I don't know. The Holy Light is a great blessing and it is a sign, and for this reason it is very good and holy to keep it going.
Also, the reception it receives at the airport with the honors of a head of state, is it not something idolatrous?
First of all, as the matter has come down, it is not an honor to be the head of state. I would prefer an ecclesiastical reception. I don't know how they established this type of reception.
Perhaps at one time the heads of state may have deserved more than they do today. The Holy Light is not honored with guns and weapons, nor with worldly exaggerations. This is how I feel.
On the other hand, since the state has established this way and has chosen to show its respect, let it do it.
However I will tell you that the local community of East Attica rejoices in it and honors it with universal participation. When years ago I expressed my thoughts about changing the order of things, there was a general negative reaction.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.