Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter

news_168991.jpgThousands of Orthodox Christians gathered at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday to witness what they believe is the miraculous appearance of “holy fire” on the eve of Orthodox Easter. Around 150,000 Pilgrims from the Eastern Orthodox faiths including Greeks, Copts, Russians and Assyrians came in the Old City, trying to reach the church, AFP reports.

The church is built on the site Christians revere as the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and rose again to life, his ressurection being celebrated on Easter Day. Greeks, Armenians and Roman Catholics share custody of the church.

People came to witness what Orthodox Christians believe is an annual miracle, the spontaneous appearance of a flame inside an ornately decorated marble tabernacle built over what is thought to be the tomb of Jesus Christ.

A 48-year-old doctor said she traveled from Armenia in order to “see the light, to pray, to be here and feel the resurrection of our Jesus” and a music teacher from Ukraine began to cry as she told reporters “Jesus sacrificed for us, for our souls and he continues to show us his miracles.”

In Orthodox tradition, the vigil held on the eve of Easter starts with a darkened church that is illuminated by new fire, which symbolizes the “light of Christ” manifested on Resurrection Day. For 40 days after the bright night of that Easter vigil, Orthodox Christians will continue to greet one another with the words: “Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!”