In the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, amid the sounds of drumbeats and hymns the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III, in an investigation which in earlier times was carried out by Turkish soldiers, is inspected by Israeli authorities to prove that he does not carry the technical means to light a fire. Then, accompanied by the Armenian and Coptic Patriarchs he descended into the antechamber of the Lord’s Tomb where the Angel sat and proclaimed Christ’s resurrection to the Myrrh Bearing Women.While the other two patriarch’s wait, Theofilos III entered alone into the inner chamber of Christ’s Tomb to knee, pray and wait to receive The Holy Fire.
This event has been documented ever year since 1066 and mentioned in documents dating as early as the 4th century. The Holy Fire is said to rise as a mist and cover the stone on which Jesus body laid as a moist cloud of light. Sometimes it will take on a blue tint and or change to various hues of color. The light behaves differently each year at times lighting the whole tomb so those outside can see it flashing. As the faithful outside chant Lord, have mercy, the Holy Fire spontaneously ignites a bundle of 33 candles held by the patriarch, who then emerges and lights the candles of first the Armenian, then the Coptic patriarch before exiting to distribute the flame to the awaiting faithful.
The flame does not burn the faithful’s hair, faces, clothes or anything else during the first 33 minutes of its appearance and is believed to hold the power of the Resurrection and the Burning Bush of Mount Sinai.
The Holy Fire can only be retrieved by the Orthodox Patriarch although it could be said it appears not because of him but because of the truth of the Orthodox faith and the holiness of the location. The church contains the hill of Golgotha, on which Christ was crucified and the tomb from which He rose from the dead.
In 1547, a miracle took place. Some rich Armenian Monophysites decided to force the Orthodox out of the church and retrieve the Holy Fire for themselves by bribing the Ottoman Turk’s who controlled Jerusalem at that time. While the grieving Orthodox stood outside guarded by the Turkish army, the Armenians entered the tomb to retrieve the Holy Fire without results. After some time a loud clap of thunder was heard and the left side of the middle marble column outside cracked and ignited with the Holy Fire with which the Orthodox Patriarch and Orthodox faithful lit their candles. The Turks were amazed and terrified. One of them, Omir, who was standing guard, immediately believed in Christ and exclaiming the true
faith jumped down from a over 35 ft. height landing on solid marble and imprinting his feet in it as though it were soft wax. His imprints can still be seen to this day. Omir then took his weapon and thrust it into the soft stone, praising Christ. The Turks had him beheaded and burned and the Greeks gathered his bones, taking them to Great Panagia Convent where they gush forth fragrance to this day.
Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said about 2,500 police were stationed in the area, including as many as 1,500 within the church itself. He estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 worshippers packed the church and about 7,000 more spilled over into its cobbled courtyard.