Holy Fire Descends upon Jesus' Tomb in Jerusalem
The annual miracle of the Holy Fire has descended on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, reported the Bulgarian National TV on Holy Saturday.
The fire is now being spread among the thousands of believers who have thronged to the site to venerate what they believe to be a miracle foreboding Easter.
The rite of the Holy Fire is key in Eastern Othodox and Armenian Apostolic Christian beliefs, and occurs each year on Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter.
The fire mysteriously ignites behind the altar of the Holy Sepulchre church, built at the site where Jesus Christ was buried and was resurrected on Easter.
At noon Saturday, a solemn ceremony presided by the Orthodox and Armenian patriarchs entered the church to bring out the Holy Fire.
Believers, gathered in thousands Saturday, are allowed to touch it and venerate the fire, which is said to not burn them.
The Holy Fire is then transported via special flights to Christian Orthodox countries across the world, including Bulgaria, to be ignited in local churches for Easter.
This will be brought to Bulgaria around 8 pm on Holy Saturday with a government plane boarded by a nine strong official clergy delegation headed by Plovdiv metropolitan bishop Nikolay.
On the evening of Holy Saturday, Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim will hold the official solemn Easter service in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.
The flame of the Holy Fire will be brought to the patriarchal cathedral for the solemn service.
The beginning of the festive service is at 11.30 pm. At the end, as per the canon, the Patriarch and his procession will issue from the cathedral to proclaim the coming of Easter.
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