Orthodox Christians Hold ‘Holy Fire’ Ceremony in Jerusalem

Kawases in traditional Ottoman outfits lead a procession of Roman Catholic clergymen as they leave the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City during Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) celebrations on March 24, 2016.
Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

(AFP) — Tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims gathered at Christianity’s holiest site in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday for the “Holy Fire” ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

With candles in hand, at least seven thousand pilgrims filled the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

The church is built on the site where according to Christian tradition Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Thousands more stood in the square outside to receive the flame, representing the resurrection of Christ, which passed from candle to candle and will be taken back to Orthodox churches worldwide.

The ceremony is the holiest event for Orthodox Christianity.

The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the church.

Israeli police, which secure the event, said it took place without any disturbances.

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