BEIRUT–After arriving from their journey to Jordan to retrieve the Holy Fire from Jerusalem, the delegation of Lebanese Orthodox bishops presented the Orthodox Christian-deemed miracle of the Holy Fire to the public.
They were received upon their arrival at the Rafik Hariri International Airport by Deputy Prime Minister Ghassan Hasbani, Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab, and several other bishops.
According to the Orthodox Christian tradition, the Holy Fire is a miracle that occurs every year at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected. The actual miracle is a lighting of candles within the church, which is said to come from “holy fire,” where the stone on which Jesus was buried is said to emit a miraculous holy spark.
Every year, on Great Saturday or Holy Saturday, the top clergy from the Eastern Orthodox enter the church’s Edicule in Jerusalem, the chamber in which Christ was believed to be buried. They then emerge with candles that are lit from this Holy Fire–the source of which is a highly guarded secret.
The Edicule underwent a painstaking $3.7 million restoration two years ago, which was implemented through the collaboration of the three major Christian denominations.
This ritual dates back to approximately 1,200 years (since 1106 A.D.), and thousands of pilgrims gather each year to light their own candles from this source.
Once the Holy Fire was received in Beirut on Saturday evening, just before the Orthodox Easter, the procession carried it to the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Al-Nejmeh Square downtown.
After having a ceremony in the Cathedral, the bishops then took the Holy Fire to other areas of Lebanon, from the North to the South, including Akkar, Koura, and Jdeidet Marjeyoun in Nabatieh.
The Holy Fire’s arrival has occurred in Lebanon over the past several years, and many from the Lebanese Orthodox community gather each year to witness this special event.