His red and gold vestments bathed in candlelight, the first mainland Chinese Orthodox priest ordained for six decades led an Easter service on Sunday — one of the most surprising fruits of warming ties between Moscow and Beijing.
On Bright Monday, May 2, 2016, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, sent a letter to His Grace, Serbian Orthodox Bishop Mitrophan, offering prayers and concern in the wake of a four-alarm fire that engulfed Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral near West 25th Street and Broadway in New York City.
According to media reports, the blaze started at 6:50 p.m. on Pascha—May 1. Heavy flames burst through the roof and shot out of the large rose window on the façade of the cathedral, which was designated as a New York City landmark in 1968. Originally known as Trinity Chapel, the Gothic Revival edifice was designed in 1850 by noted architect Richard M. Upjohn. The Serbian Orthodox Church purchased the church from the Episcopal Diocese of New York in 1943.
As Orthodox Christians across the world celebrated Easter on May 1, RT got an exclusive chance to film the grand midnight service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in the first ever 360-video from the biggest church in Russia.
The ceremony, attended by some 5,000 people, was led by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill. Prior to the liturgy he lit candles with the ‘Holy Fire’ delivered from Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the service.
The Christians celebrate Easter after the Holy Week to commemorating the day they believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected. Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter in April in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, while Orthodox Christians, who use the Julian calendar, celebrated it on Sunday.
The following is a description of the Holy Light, which descends upon the Holy Sepulchre, as the Lord vouchsafed to show it to me, his wicked and unworthy servant. For in very truth I have seen with my own sinful eves how that Holy Light descends upon the redeeming Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many pilgrims relate incorrectly the details about the descent of that Holy Light. Some say that the Holy Ghost descends upon the Holy Sepulchre in the form of a dove, others that it is lightning from heaven which kindles the lamps above the Sepulchre of the Lord. This is all untrue, for neither dove nor lightning is to be seen at that moment; but the Divine grace comes down unseen from heaven, and lights the lamps of the Sepulchre of our Lord. I will only describe it in perfect truth as I have seen it.
The Holy Fire has descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The Holy Fire appeared in the edicule (the small chapel built over the burial place of Christ) during the prayers of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem.
The Power of Memory – Chornobyl Thirty Years Later
Thirty years ago, in the early morning of April 26, 1986, even as the Orthodox Church was about to embark on its holiest of weeks leading to the joy of Easter, the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, creating the worst nuclear disaster that the world had seen up to that time.
The consequences of the disaster were felt far and wide: in the extension of contaminating radioactive particles into Russia, Belarus, as well as countries to the North and West; in human desertion and ecological destruction of vast surrounding areas; in long-lasting and permanent damage to health and loss of human life estimated at one million premature deaths.