Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Straight from the Heart

Straight from the Heart: Like many Orthodox, I am fascinated by God’s annual gift to His Church of the Holy Fire, which He kindles faithfully in the Church of the Resurrection (or "the Holy Sepulchre") in Jerusalem every Holy Saturday. I first heard of the Holy Fire from reading (of all things) H.V. Morton’s famous travelogue of his visits to the Holy Land, his In the Steps of the Master (first published 1934). It’s fair to say that this English churchman was not impressed. He wrote that he thought it “an extraordinary thing” that “a frenzied ceremony that might have occurred in a grove of Adonis should have taken place at the Tomb of Christ”, wherein “hundreds of simple, but apparently mad, Christians believed that God had sent fire from heaven”. Morton didn’t believe God did send fire from heaven. He wrote, “The crowds have been told time and again that the Holy Fire is a piece of symbolism, but nothing will shake their belief that on this day it descends from heaven into the Tomb of Christ.”

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