February 18, 2020

Is the Holy Light of Jerusalem a Scam? Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol Responds

Below is translated the response of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol to certain recent reports that the Holy Light of Jerusalem is a scam and the Patriarch uses a lighter or other light source to light the candles on Holy Saturday. The original video interview from April 2019 is below.

I went to the Holy Land and experienced Holy Week there. I was next to the Patriarch during the ceremony of the Holy Light. Outside of the Tomb, of course. What I can tell you is the following: as to how the Patriarch lights the candles inside the All-Holy Tomb, I did not see. I wasn't inside nor is anyone else inside. Not even the Guardian of the Sepulchre is there. Only the Patriarch knows. Whether he lights it with a lighter or anything else, he knows. We have historical testimonies over many centuries that say the candles of the Patriarch are lit on their own.

What I saw when I was at the All-Holy Sepulchre, was that prior to the Patriarch emerging and distributing the Holy Light to the people, and as I was looking around at what was happening, the candles of the people who were up at the dome of the All-Holy Sepulchre lit up on their own. Someone's candles in front of us lit up on their own. A certain old woman from Athens who was not able to enter the Church of the All-Holy Sepulchre was outside on the stairs holding her candles and crying cause she couldn't enter, and her candles lit up on their own. She herself told me this. Another lady up on the balcony had her candles light up on their own.

So the Patriarch had his lit the way it did. I don't know how. But how did these people have their candles lit? What I saw was the Holy Light like blue azure lightning going horizontal. When I asked the person next to me if he saw anything, he said he saw vertical lightning bolts. Someone else saw a spherical light. Another person didn't see anything. If it was a technological construction, wouldn't all of us have seen the same thing? How was it that I saw it horizontally, another saw it vertically, and another saw it spherical. A monk told me he saw it as a bright cloud above the All-Holy Sepulchre. Every one sees it according to their own condition. How else can I say it? As to what is going on with the Patriarch, let them find out on their own.

Let me say this: the Armenian outside can see what the Patriarch is doing inside. If there was a scam going on, such as how they say the Patriarch lights it from an oil lamp, don't you think they would expose the scam, since they want very much to take over the ceremony of the Holy Light and the Holy Sepulchre. The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre show the column outside the All-Holy Sepulchre as proof of the Holy Light emerging from there, because the Turks would not allow the Orthodox Patriarch to do the Holy Light and would have had the Armenian instead. Instead of the Armenian doing it, the Holy Light tore apart the column and emerged from there for the Orthodox Patriarch. These are the testimonies of the ages.

I myself asked Saint Paisios, after he returned from Jerusalem, "Elder, did you see the Holy Light?" He said it wasn't Easter time when he was there. But he told me: "All the holy sites, especially the All-Holy Sepulchre, have a perpetual holy light." We just don't see it. The Holy Light does not only emerge on Holy Saturday, but many times, according to the testimonies of pilgrims and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre; it appears at the All-Holy Sepulchre and other pilgrimage sites. Even on Mount Athos oil lamps are lit on their own, or containers fill up with oil on their own. In our own days, at Simonopetra, all the containers were empty, but were filled up overnight. The fathers went there in the morning, and they found them overflowing with oil. We are talking about tons of oil, not ten pounds or something like that. It has happened in many places, like Vatopaidi and elsewhere. Miracles for us are not strange, but are an act of God. If someone wants to doubt them, then let them do as they see fit.

See also: Holy Light of Jerusalem Resource Page