Paschal Fire

Most Orthodox and Copts know about this, but I don’t think other Christians do. Basically, every year on Pascha, for a very long time back, God lights the candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. There are hundreds – maybe thousands – of witnesses that attest to it. They report that it doesn’t burn for a while after the candles are lit, either. Every once in a while, around Pascha, some Orthodox folk will mention it, sort of in passing “by the way, God sends down fire every year at this time; I know a bishop I trust very much who saw it happen,” or something of that kind.

“I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead… (narrates Orthodox Patriarch Diodor – ed.). I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees.Miracle of God. At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature... See also a line of lights at bottom-left Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the colour may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake — it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn — I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp… At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church.”

Read more here. That’s really, really cool.

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