World View: Orthodox Christians Celebrate the Holy Fire Ceremony at Easter
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Orthodox Christians celebrate the Holy Fire ceremony at Easter
- Ukraine calls an Easter Truce
- Japan to set up an army radar base near China
Orthodox Christians celebrate the Holy Fire ceremony at Easter
The Holy Fire ceremony is possibly the most impressive celebration in
all of Christianity, and is performed each year for Orthodox Easter,
which occurs this year on April 20. (This is one of the rare years
where the Orthodox and Catholic Easters coincide.)
On Saturday morning, Orthodox clergymen break the seal of the door to
Christ's tomb in Jerusalem and descend into the chamber. After a
while, they emerge with lit candles. Believers say that the "Holy
Fire" appears spontaneously from the tomb on the day before Easter to
show Jesus has not forgotten his followers.
The fire is passed from candle to candle, and is flown to Athens and
other cities, so that the Holy Fire can be shared by thousands of
worshippers. In Athens, the ceremony begins at 11 pm on Saturday,
when practically the entire country is in church. At midnight, the
lights are turned off, and everyone's candle is lit with the Holy Fire
from the priest's candle, as the priest says, "Christ has risen from
the dead and in so doing has trampled on death and to those in the
tombs he has given life." Then people head home with their lit
candles, and the entire city is lit by the candles with the Holy Fire.
The ceremony dates back to the fourth century, and possibly as early
as the first century. HolyFire.org and Greece Travel
Ukraine calls an Easter Truce
Ukraine's government in Kiev has announced an Easter truce in it
"anti-terrorist operation" against the pro-Russian separatists in
eastern Ukraine. According to Thursday's agreement between Russia,
Ukraine and the West, such operations may be illegal anyway.
The pro-Russian separatists continue to refuse to leave the buildings
they occupy or remove the blockades they set up, as called for in
However, the separatists are said to be disappointed that a new poll
indicates that 57.2% of the people in Donetsk, the center of the east
Ukraine activists, say that Kiev has not violated their rights, and
66.3% say they are against a Russian military intervention. BBC and AFP
Japan to set up an army radar base near China
In a move that will surely infuriate the Chinese, Japan on Saturday
broke ground for a new radar station and army base on Yonaguni island,
which is Japan's westernmost inhabited island, and is closer to Taiwan
and China than it is to mainland Japan. It has a population of 1,500,
down from about 15,000 at the end of World War II.
According to Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera:
"This is the first deployment since the US returned
Okinawa (1972) and calls for us to be more on guard are growing.
I want to build an operation able to properly defend islands that
are part of Japan's territory."
Building the base will extend Japanese monitoring to the Chinese
mainland and allow it to track Chinese ships and aircraft circling the
disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
Opinion among residents of Yonaguni island is split, with opponents
fearing that the base will one day bring a military attack, and
proponents hoping that the radar base will bring young soldiers and
new money, and will breathe life into the wilting economy. Japan Times and Reuters and The Diplomat
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