Of Easter Fires
[ by Charles Cameron — the beauty and the burning ]
Today was Easter Day for the Orthodox, and the Resurrection was celebrated with what Fr Janjic describes as Holy Fire in Jerusalem.
Holy Fire has descended in church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem https://t.co/2LRvGqwCxd pic.twitter.com/G0s742Ft3m
— Sava Janjic (@SavaJanjic) May 1, 2016
Fr the Orthodox, this event is both a liturgy, spreading from Jerusalem around the globe —
Orthodox Easter spreads "holy fire" around the world https://t.co/yxyfhSJ878 (Photo: AFP) pic.twitter.com/fK00sEPCjD
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 1, 2016
— and a miracle — an intersection of the divine with earthly existance:
The Orthodox Christian miracle of Holy Fire,… https://t.co/3Bn5XQxOqk
— MORNING STAR (@FiguroUSA) April 30, 2016
Thus one might say the vertical enters the horizontal plane.
Sadly, a similar celebration in New York was followed shortly thereafter by tragedy:
NEW: Firefighters battling large fire at Serbian Orthodox church in NYC https://t.co/fy7sXfw8E1 #LiveOnK2 pic.twitter.com/RFVHY0E3Ut
— KATU News (@KATUNews) May 2, 2016
Much of beauty was consumed:
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox church in NYC, before the 4-alarm fire on Easter Sunday (photo: https://t.co/OQmOBTTUZ8) pic.twitter.com/ae8GToWORr
— RT America (@RT_America) May 2, 2016
— and in an eerie echo half way round the world, a church in Australia blazed
@RT_America @RT_com And Macedonian orthodox church burnt down Australia https://t.co/hjePewFcVe
— Tony Magrathea (@dickybeacholdie) May 2, 2016
For more on the miracle, see the Description of the Miracle of Holy Light (Holy Fire) that happens every year in Jerusalem:
The ceremony, which awes the souls of Christians, takes place in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. The date for Pascha is determined anew for every year. It must be a first Sunday after the spring equinox and Jewish Passover. Therefore, most of the time it differs from the date of Catholic and Protestant Easter, which is determined using different criteria. The Holy Fire is the most renowned miracle in the world of Eastern Orthodoxy. It has taken place at the same time, in the same manner, in the same place every single year for centuries. No other miracle is known to occur so regularly and so steadily over time. It happens in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the holiest place on earth, where Christ was crucified, entombed, and where He finally rose from the dead.
One celebrant, the late Orthodox Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem, described the miracle thus:
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. 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. 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.
— and there’s a great deal more of considerable interest at the above link.
Happy Easter to all my Orthodox friends!