By Alexia Evripidou
THE Holy Light, an Orthodox Easter tradition also referred to as the ‘Holy Fire’, is to be collected from Jerusalem this week by Archimandrite Jerome of the Church of Cyprus and made available to all the faithful during mass for Easter celebration on Saturday night.
The ‘Holy Light’ comes from the ‘blue fire’ that is said to emanate from within the burial site of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Orthodox Patriarch then lights his candle from the ‘blue fire’ and passes it on to the congregation present at the annual ceremony.
The light will be flown into Larnaca airport on a special flight from Jerusalem on Saturday, where it will be met with an official reception at 6.30pm. It will then continue its journey to the Archbishopric in Nicosia, where it will be made available to the faithful at 8pm.
“Bishop Chrysostomos [of Kition] and I will fly to Jerusalem on Good Friday to bring the Holy Light for everyone to come and collect on Easter Saturday. Priests, clergy and the general public, Orthodox and non Orthodox, can all turn up,” Archimandrite Jerome told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.
Bishop Chrysostomos will then take the light to the Archbishopric in Nicosia where it will be handed over to Archbishop Chrysostomos who will make it available to everyone during Saturday night’s service. People can keep their candles alight for 40 days after Easter, if they wish.
The Holy Light’s ceremony in Jerusalem consists of three stages: the procession, the Patriarch’s entrance into the Holy Tomb and the Patriarch’s prayer in order for the Holy Light to appear. It is thought that the Holy Fire’s’ purpose is to “light the whole of mankind for a better tomorrow.”
Saturday will see thousands of pilgrims gathering in Jerusalem to participate in or witness the annual event.
Cyprus is one of several countries following this religious tradition, together with Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia, Montenegro, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, all of which fly the Holy Light to their country on special flights.