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Tens of thousands of pilgrims have visited the Old City of Jerusalem impatient to observe what the faithful see as the miracle of the ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony.
The event takes place on the eve of the Orthodox Church’s Easter when a lamp placed in the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is mysteriously lit.
Immediately candles take up the flame and the ‘Holy Fire’ is rapidly passed among worshipers.
Traditionally, an olive lamp is also lit and transferred as soon as possible to the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The flame is then taken to other Christian cities and villages and flown out to Orthodox communities throughout the world.
At the heart of the ceremony is the belief that the ‘Holy Flame’ is lit through divine intervention in the form of a sun beam shining through the ceiling into the sacred Jerusalem Church.