|Pink Easter Lilies, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011, revised 2012|
First let me show you a revised version of my Pink Lilies. Since I have heard so many people say that they don't like white lilies as the look and smell reminds them of funerals, I decided to use pink Easter lilies instead. And, since pictures rarely have any odour, just pretend that these smell like freshly baked rhubarb and strawberry pie! Yum!
|Crowd surrounds the Holy Sepulchre, Easter Vigil, Jerusalem|
|Patriarch of Jerusalem exiting the tomb after receiving the Holy Fire|
How the miracle occurs: The Orthodox Patriarch then enters the Holy Tomb alone. Listen to this account of Patriarch Diodorus, who was Patriarch from 1981 to 2000:
"I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead. I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers.When the Patriarch comes out with the two candles lit and shining brightly in the darkness, a roar of jubilee resounds in the Church.
"From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the color may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake — it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn — I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp.
"At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church."
May the peace of God be with us all.