Friday, April 07, 2023


Praise the Lord - Sergei Rachmaninov


"Hymn to the Eternal Flame" 
from To be Certain of the Dawn by Stephen Paulus

"Every Orthodox Holy Saturday in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, thousands gather to witness a flame “miraculously” appearing in the tomb of Jesus.
Orthodox Christians believe it’s a potent symbol of the resurrection.

It’s the Church's most important miracle. And it’s believed to have been happening annually for the past 1,200 years.
The ritual begins with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem (or another Orthodox archbishop), descending into the empty tomb of Christ within the church and reciting special prayers. A non-Orthodox Christian is also said to examine the edicule (a small structure surrounding the tomb) to make sure no oil lamps have been left burning inside that the patriarch could use to light his candles."
Victoria Clark recounts a conversation she had with Orthodox Bishop Theophanis in which she asked about the miracle. He replied: “In this ceremony we are offering created fire and from it comes uncreated light, by the grace of the Holy Spirit…before the ceremony begins, a kantila – a little oil lamp – is placed, already lit, on the tomb. The patriarch lights his candle from it while he says a special prayer.”

Bishop Theophanis likens the miracle to Holy Communion when the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation/ metousiosis). The natural is transformed into the supernatural. In his mind the Holy Fire really is a miraculous fire because the prayer has changed it from ordinary fire to Holy Fire.

Miracle of the Holy Fire (Holy Light) Presentation

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