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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thousands of Orthodox celebrate holy fire ritual

JERUSALEM-The sound of drumbeats and hymns and light from thousands of candles and torches filled Christianity's most revered shrine Saturday as Orthodox faithful celebrated Easter Week's holy fire ritual.Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried at the site where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher now stands, and that a flame appears spontaneously from his tomb on the day before Easter to show he has not forgotten his followers.
Worshippers carrying torches or bundles of 33 tapers signifying the years of Jesus' life waited in excited anticipation as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in the Holy Land, Theofilos III, removed his embossed gold-and-white mitre and descended with Greek Orthodox, Armenian and other Eastern rite clergy into the tomb....
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Picture Left:Orthodox Christian pilgrims light candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, during the Holy Fire ceremony, in Jerusalem's Old City, Saturday, April 3, 2010.The ceremony dates back to the 12th century.(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

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