BETHLEHEM (AP) — Light from the Holy Fire arrived in Bethlehem on the West Bank on Saturday, where tradition holds Jesus was born.
The Holy Fire ritual, celebrated the day before the Orthodox Easter, honors the belief that a Holy Fire appears spontaneously from Jesus’ tomb as a message that he has not forgotten his followers. The ritual dates back at least 1,200 years.
The flame traditionally travels from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, past an Israeli military barrier into Bethlehem where it is received at the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birthplace.
Orthodox Christians, who follow the old, Julian calendar, mark Easter this week; Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations that observe the new, Gregorian calendar, held their Easter celebrations at the end of March this year.
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