JERUSALEM, April 7. /TASS/. The Holy Fire has descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Holy Saturday, on the eve of Orthodox Easter, TASS correspondent reports. The Holy Fire descends in the Edicule, a chapel built over the burial place of Christ, during the prayer delivered by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine. After the fire's descent the Patriarch passes the holy gift over to believers who use it to light 33 candles tied together, one candle for each year of Christ's life.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called Vladimir Yakunin lit a special capsule, which will be brought to Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and then to the Christ the Savior Cathedral for the Easter night service led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the head of Russian Orthodox Church. Traditionally, hundreds of worshippers will meet the delegation from Jerusalem to take the Holy Fire to parishes of Moscow and Russian regions. The Holy Fire has been airlifted to Moscow by the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called since 1992.
The first records of the Holy Fire, which symbolizes the light that illuminated Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, dates back to the fourth century. The fire has been descending each Holy Saturday, on the eve of the Orthodox Easter, for many centuries. In spite of numerous attempts, no one has been able to work out the origin of the fire, since in the very first minutes after it descends, the fire is warm and does not burn. It is believed that the Holy Fire will not descend on the year of the Doomsday.