May 1, 2021

A First Look at the Holy Light (Holy Fire) of Jerusalem 2021

Today in Jerusalem the Holy Light, known in the West as Holy Fire, once again descended into the Tomb of Christ as Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem knelt in prayer within the Holy Sepulchre. This ceremony has taken place just about every year for hundreds of years on Holy Saturday at noon. With 33 candles in each hand he distributed the Holy Light to the many, though fewer that usual, present, as the ceremony unfolded with measures in place due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis; vaccination was required for those who were in attendance this year, whereas last year pilgrims were not allowed to attend at all. Usually, thousands of Orthodox Christians gather at East Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the eve of Orthodox Easter, and fill it to capacity. Following the Holy Light ceremony, the flame is taken by plane to other Orthodox communities in countries such as Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania. Whereas in Greece the Holy Light is usually received with the welcome of a Head of State, this year the reception will be humbled to avoid large gatherings.
For further reading, see: Holy Light of Jerusalem Resource Page