Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter after Holy Fire lights up in Jerusalem

Consecration of Easter cakes on Easter Saturday in the Church of the Dormition, the village of Stromyn, Moscow Region (RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov)

As Orthodox Christians were preparing for their most important annual religious holiday, a centuries old tradition has taken place in Jerusalem. The lighting of the Holy Fire has attracted pilgrims from around the globe and celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.

The ceremony, which is held at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, saw
thousands of worshipers take part in a custom, which is over
1,200 years old. The pilgrims were mainly from Eastern Europe,
but there were also a number of Christian Arabs, who attended.

Those gathered inside the Church, waited for the Holy Fire to be
lit and hurried to light the candles they were carrying, as the
flame emerged from the holy building.

Upon being lit, the flame will now start a journey to Orthodox
Christian nations around the globe. It will be flown to countries
such as Greece and Russia on specially chartered planes.

The Orthodox Easter, which due to the use of the Gregorian
calendar, comes a week later than when Easter is celebrated in
the West. The religious festival is marked by worshipers eating
Easter cakes, or kuliches, as well as exchanging painted eggs.

Город сегодня сказочный! Что-то неуловимо
волшебное растворилось в воздухе. Хочется дышать глубоко, жадно
наполняя легкие долгожданной весной!) Всех с наступающим
праздником Светлой пасхи! #пасха #москва #spring #Moscow #night
#church #vscocam #vsco #vscorussia

A photo posted by Anastasia (@mrs__raspberry) on Apr 11, 2015 at
1:17pm PDT

In Russia, the main Orthodox Easter celebration takes place in
the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Russian President Vladimir
Putin is attending the event. Another 5,000 worshipers were also
expected to pack into the Cathedral in downtown Moscow.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, leads
the Easter service.

#пасха#всех с праздником#))))

A photo posted by Анастасия (@aaaanastenka) on Apr 11, 2015 at
1:20pm PDT

This year, Orthodox Easter falls on the same day as the
Cosmonauts Day – April 12. Therefore, the Patriarch will speak
with Russian members of the International Space Station, to
congratulate them with their holiday, as well as wishing them a
happy Easter.

Поздравляю всех с наступающим светлым праздником
Желаю жить в мире и согласии ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ
Отдельное спасибо @ver4ic за прекрасные подарочки

A photo posted by Екатерина (@kat_k88) on Apr 11, 2015 at 1:19pm

Christianity is the world’s largest religion with over 2.2
billion followers. Its three largest branches are the Catholic
Church, the Protestant Church and the Orthodox Church. Catholics
and Protestants both celebrated Easter on April 5.

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