Easter Holy Week celebrations are continuing in Jerusalem with a traditional ceremony at the holiest place in Christianity. Orthodox Christians crowded into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City for the Ceremony of the Holy Fire. Following a 1,200-year-old tradition, priests entered the ancient stone tomb of Jesus as the cavernous church was plunged into darkness. Suddenly, the priests emerged with candles said to be lit by the Holy Spirit.
The crowd cheered as the flame quickly spread to thousands of worshippers holding candles. It symbolizes that Jesus is the light of the world. Worshippers came from countries where the Orthodox churches are strong, including Serbia, Russia, Armenia and Greece.
By the Grace of God,
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch,
To all the Faithful of the Church:
Grace, mercy, and peace from Christ the Savior Risen in Glory
* * *
Beloved brothers and sisters, dear children in the Lord,
Christ is Risen!
Once again, the sacred day of Pascha has dawned in full delight and splendor, dispersing joy, comfort, gladness and assurance of life to all faithful, despite the heavy atmosphere that prevails in our world on account of the multidimensional crisis with all its familiar painful consequences for our daily life.
The day of Holy Saturday with the ceremony of the Holy Fire is in the cycle of feasts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem as one of the holiest, most emotionally moving and consequently, most participated in by numerous pilgrims. On this day from the early hours of dawn the pilgrims from every direction, eagerly arrive in crowds in front of the gates of the Church of Resurrection, which are closed until 10:30 am (summer time) according to the Status Quo.
His Beatitude Theodoros II visited the Orthodox School "Agios Athanasios" of the Metropolis, in Tembisa, Johannesburg25. March 2010 - 11:08
On 23 March 2010 His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Eminence Seraphim Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria and His Eminence George Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Archimandrite Panteleimon Arathymos, Director of His Beatitude's Private Patriarchal Office, visited the Orthodox School "Agios Athanasios" of the Metropolis, in Tembisa, Johannesburg, where two hundred children from poor African families are being educated.
On Wednesday, March 17, 2010, secondary school students from Italy and Greece visited His All Holiness at the Phanar.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, took part on 2 March 2010 in the inauguration of the Holy Rus exhibition at the Louvre, which was opened by the Presidents of Russia and France. The idea to organize this exhibition was supported by the late Patriarch Alexy II in 2008 during a visit of Louvre Director Henri Loyrette to Moscow.