THE SERVICE OF THE HOLY LIGHT AT THE PATRIARCHATE (2017)
On Holy and Great Saturday, 2nd/15th April 2017, the service of the Holy Light was observed by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. For this service the necessary preparations were made for the coming of the pilgrims of all Orthodox Churches in co-operation between the Secretariat-General and the Status Quo committee of the Patriarchate with the Israeli Police, from the very early morning hours of Saturday.
Once the Orthodox pilgrims and the members of the other Christian Communities had been placed in the designated areas for each Community in the Church, His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos came at 12:00 noon (13:00pm summer time) down the staircase of the St. James Cathedral to the Catholicon – Holy Altar of the Church of the Resurrection, escorted by Hagiotaphite Fathers and delegates of Orthodox Churches and countries.
Therein, according to the order, the Israeli Police who was responsible for the order and security of the pilgrims came to receive the blessing and the Holy Light, followed by the delegates of the Armenians, Syrians, and the Copts.
After this procedure, there was the litany from the Holy Altar, three times around the Holy Sepulchre while the hymns of the litany of the day were being chanted: “Angels in the heavens, O Christ our Saviour, praise Thy resurrection with hymns…” and “O joyous Light of the holy glory of the immortal…”, by the Choir Leader of the Most Holy Church of the Resurrection Archimandrite Aristovoulos and Mr. George Alvanos with their helpers.
Having completed the litany, the Patriarch took off all his liturgical vestments but the sticharion, entered the Edicule, where the Lord’s Tomb lies, and offered a prayer to the Crucified, Buried and Resurrected our Saviour Jesus Christ. Then he passed on the Holy Light from the south door of the Edicule, which in great speed was transmitted to the Holy Altar of the Catholicon of the Church of the Resurrection. In the meantime, His Beatitude came out at the entrance of the Edicule and gave the Holy Light to the pilgrims who received it in joy and exclamations, placing it to their eyes, hands and faces for their Sanctification by the Resurrected our Lord Jesus Christ.
Almost immediately His Beatitude went to the Holy Altar, and from there, with the pilgrims’ candles lit and bells tolling, escorted, he returned to the Patriarchate. There he received the delegation of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens from Greece, represented by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Athenagoras of Ilion and the Greek Government represented by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis, with the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Greece Archimandrite Damianos, as well as the delegations from Cyprus and Russia.
To those, the received from the Holy Sepulchre Holy Light was given, so that it be transferred by the special flight for this reason, to the various Metropolis and counties of Greece, for the enlightenment and sanctification of the Greek citizens and Orthodox Christians, and their refreshment for the sufferings of the recession and any other shortcomings.