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Author Topic: Regarding Holy Fire as an Apologetic for Orthodoxy  (Read 6807 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« on: April 26, 2009, 02:06:19 PM »

Christ is risen....He is risen indeed....

I have looked at the threads and videos concerning Holy Fire (as happens annually at the tomb site) and I have no reason to doubt that it is miraculous. It does not burn, unlike natural fire.  I have some questions....

1) Why does it seem that it is considered a vindication of Orthodoxy in contrast to a vindication of the Resurrection? It seems that it is being used to "prove" your brand (pardon me if this is the wrong word) of Orthodoxy is right and others are wrong.  It seems that Christ does it to declare His Resurrection, not the rightness of Orthodoxy. I regard this as a treasure of all Christians, not just the Orthodox in communion with Jerusalem.  At the same time, why can't the Armenian guy do it? Is that right? What is with all the fighting and quarrelling? Does it somehow prove that the Orthodox in communion with Jerusalem are the one true church exclusively (apt allustions to Aaron's rod budding??)? If so, I would like to hear why.

2) How long does it last? Is it really taken to Mt. Athos, and if so, why? I didn't see anyone leaving the church with the fire, but maybe that is just me.

3) Has anyone used spectographic analysis to determine how it differs from normal fire? The colors do not look like those of a regular flame to me.

4) Is any part of the candle or taper consumed in the burning?

5) Do you have to be Orthodox to see it? Meaning, that if I wanted to go see this next year in Jerusalem, could I get in, or is it somehow restricted (the place has a limited capacity)?
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 02:11:00 PM »

The Holy Light is not an apologetic for Orthodoxy. The fact that the miracle occurs only for the Orthodox doesn't "prove" anything. No miracles "prove" anything and should never be the foundation of Faith on their own. The foundation of the Christian Faith is the Ressurection.
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 02:23:18 PM »

I didn't see anyone leaving the church with the fire, but maybe that is just me.

Many people aren't able to get into the church and wait in the courtyard outside. They all receive the fire.

Quote
4) Is any part of the candle or taper consumed in the burning?

Yes, the wick burns and the wax melts.

Quote
5) Do you have to be Orthodox to see it? Meaning, that if I wanted to go see this next year in Jerusalem, could I get in, or is it somehow restricted (the place has a limited capacity)?

Capacity is limited, and you might well not get inside the church. But no one will deny you entry because of your religion.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 02:23:39 PM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 02:36:26 PM »

Is it absolutely imperative that you as an Orthodox Christian believe the Holy Fire to be real? What if you doubt? Are you still allowed to receive communion, etc.? I've wondered about this for quite some awhile.
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 02:42:18 PM »

Is it absolutely imperative that you as an Orthodox Christian believe the Holy Fire to be real? What if you doubt? Are you still allowed to receive communion, etc.? I've wondered about this for quite some awhile.

No, it is not a dogma, but I have to wonder why would anyone who had never witnessed it first hand would have any cause to doubt it?
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2009, 02:46:54 PM »

I don't know George. I read something once about some (19th century?)Russian Orthodox clerics  who witnessed it and reported it was a fraud. It would take some work for me to the find the link again. I came across it by chance, because I was researching the Holy Fire a bit. I don't know myself what to believe. Of course, I've never seen it myself and the way I understand it, the common laity aren't permitted to witness the actual ignition of the flame, because it's done in the sanctuary (please correct me if I am mistaken).
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ozgeorge
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2009, 02:55:03 PM »

There is a link to a recent documentary video (subtitled) about the phenomenon here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20754.msg310897.html#msg310897

The phenomenon is not simply the lighting of the Holy Fire from the Uncreated Light, but other visible (and recently videoed) phenomena as well (flashes of light, spheres of fire passing through the crowds in the Church, candles and lamps in the Church spontaneously lighting etc.)
I saw these phenomena myself in 1986, and have no doubt something supernatural was occuring.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2009, 03:41:23 PM »

No miracles "prove" anything and should never be the foundation of Faith on their own. The foundation of the Christian Faith is the Resurrection.

I totally agree, ozgeorge is spot on here.  Aside from the Resurrection, no individual isolated miracle should be the sole basis of a person's belief.  The truth of the faith has to be confirmed at all other angles as well.  Wicked generations looks for a sign, and wicked generations test God.  That being said, I would be honored to be able to witness this one day if the miracle continues and the Lord wills me to see it.
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2009, 05:10:08 PM »

The Orthodox Church commemorates the first Sunday after Easter as the Sunday of St. Thomas per the Lord's exhortation of "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

If there are Russian clerics (or anyone else throughout the ages) who have called the Holy Fire a fraud, think about why there isn't any documented evidence of these observations.

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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2009, 06:38:51 PM »

An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign.
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2009, 08:24:44 PM »

Thanks for posting that link, ozgeorge. I watched the video. It was very interesting.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2009, 08:51:48 PM »

In the OP I mentioned "why is it used as an apologetic for Orthodoxy".  Apparently this statement was unclear.  In reading some things about it, some seem to use it to point out the validity of Orthodoxy in contrast to other faiths, notably the Roman Catholic and Armenian.  In the writings about it someone went so far as to say that since the True Orthodox split off it has been faked. The Patriarch of Jerusalem has a prominent role in the proceedings, and the whole thing seems to get used to underscore the validity of his position - something that I, as a Protestant, may need to give some thought to.  We (Evangelical Presbyterians) do not have an official delegation or presence there, and it is only a logical step to surmise that, for some strange reason, we sent people and bribed the local government to keep out the patriarch of Jerusalem and let the head of our denomination do the kneeling and the praying and the initial holding of the candles and the coming out of the tomb, etc., strange things would happen.  There is one split column in the place already.  Why there would not be two, or something more dramatic, is something for me to ponder.

Perhaps it is not just a sign of the Resurrection but also an affirmation of the singular validity of the Orthodox faith.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps the PoJ stands in for all Christians.
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2009, 11:06:28 PM »

In the OP I mentioned "why is it used as an apologetic for Orthodoxy".  Apparently this statement was unclear ....

Perhaps it is not just a sign of the Resurrection but also an affirmation of the singular validity of the Orthodox faith.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps the PoJ stands in for all Christians.

The first Christian Bishops were the 12 Apostles of Christ.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem can trace his unbroken sucession back to one of them (unlike your elders who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from Martin Luther who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church).  The Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.  After all, Christ told us to do all this in rememberance of Him including Holy Communion and the elaborate services of Orthodox Holy Week.

Luther cut off the Holy Tradition because of Roman Catholic abuses and you're sitting back doubting the legitmacy of Holy Fire, one of the numerous Orthodox Holy Traditions.   Angry
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2009, 12:35:24 AM »

Wicked generations look for a sign, and wicked generations test God.

An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign.

Echo echo echo echo...
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2009, 12:38:29 AM »

The first Christian Bishops were the 12 Apostles of Christ.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem can trace his unbroken sucession back to one of them (unlike your elders who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from Martin Luther who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church).  The Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.  After all, Christ told us to do all this in rememberance of Him including Holy Communion and the elaborate services of Orthodox Holy Week.

Luther cut off the Holy Tradition because of Roman Catholic abuses and you're sitting back doubting the legitmacy of Holy Fire, one of the numerous Orthodox Holy Traditions.   Angry

See you later civil discussion!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2009, 08:37:31 AM »

In the OP I mentioned "why is it used as an apologetic for Orthodoxy".  Apparently this statement was unclear ....

Perhaps it is not just a sign of the Resurrection but also an affirmation of the singular validity of the Orthodox faith.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps the PoJ stands in for all Christians.

The first Christian Bishops were the 12 Apostles of Christ.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem can trace his unbroken sucession back to one of them (unlike your elders who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from Martin Luther who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church).  The Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.  After all, Christ told us to do all this in rememberance of Him including Holy Communion and the elaborate services of Orthodox Holy Week.

Luther cut off the Holy Tradition because of Roman Catholic abuses and you're sitting back doubting the legitmacy of Holy Fire, one of the numerous Orthodox Holy Traditions.   Angry

Uhh, I don't think I expressed any doubt about its legitimacy. Where did you get that? Or the anger?

The Swiss Reformation never followed Luther. Ever.  The best you could do would be to say we broke off from entities that broke off from other entitities that broke off from the RC which broke off from the One Church. That is sort of irrelevant to this thread.

Luther actually kept most of Holy Tradition.  The difference between the Swiss and the Lutheran Reformations is that the Swiss threw out everything unless specifically justified by Scripture, whereas Luther kept everything except what was clearly in contradiction to Scripture.

You would be more convincing if you got your facts right on what I know, so it is difficult for me to accept what I do not know about from you as being true.

Quote
Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.

Please back this up.  Thank you.
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2009, 10:34:47 AM »

Uhh, I don't think I expressed any doubt about its legitimacy. Where did you get that? Or the anger?

Five letter word that rhymes with poll....

The Swiss Reformation never followed Luther. Ever.  The best you could do would be to say we broke off from entities that broke off from other entitities that broke off from the RC which broke off from the One Church. That is sort of irrelevant to this thread.

Oh yes it is if you're pontificating about Holy Fire.

Luther actually kept most of Holy Tradition.  The difference between the Swiss and the Lutheran Reformations is that the Swiss threw out everything unless specifically justified by Scripture, whereas Luther kept everything except what was clearly in contradiction to Scripture.

You would be more convincing if you got your facts right on what I know, so it is difficult for me to accept what I do not know about from you as being true.

Regardless, your denomination is degrees separated from the Orthodox faith.

Quote
Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.

Please back this up.  Thank you.

Aposotolic Succession of Patriarch of Jerusalem
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2009, 10:56:02 PM »

The first Christian Bishops were the 12 Apostles of Christ.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem can trace his unbroken sucession back to one of them (unlike your elders who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from entities who broke away from Martin Luther who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church).  The Patriarch of Jerusalem does not represent all Christians when he goes into the tomb of Christ; He represents the first Apostle who saw the empty tomb and the Uncreated Light who rose from the dead.  After all, Christ told us to do all this in rememberance of Him including Holy Communion and the elaborate services of Orthodox Holy Week.

Luther cut off the Holy Tradition because of Roman Catholic abuses and you're sitting back doubting the legitmacy of Holy Fire, one of the numerous Orthodox Holy Traditions.   Angry

See you later civil discussion!  Roll Eyes

Let us not abandon civil discussion!
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2009, 11:57:21 PM »

To be honest not many have tried to disprove the Holy Fire. Last year some Russian scientists performed some tests (don't ask me what) on the miracle, they were unable to prove or disprove it. Most skeptics ignore the fact the fire doesn't burn and adhere to some white phosphorous theory that fails to explain a whole lot of attributes to the miracle. To be honest, the miracle is not Orthodox dogma and could very well be an elaborate hoax, but having never been there myself I have no reason to judge it. Personally I see no reason to not believe in the miracle (just contradicted not judging it!),and  I've never understood why those Russian clerics came back claiming it to be a fraud.
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2009, 12:59:37 AM »

Uhh, I don't think I expressed any doubt about its legitimacy. Where did you get that? Or the anger?

Five letter word that rhymes with poll....
SolEX01, what exactly are you trying to imply with this cryptic phrase?
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« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2009, 09:56:16 AM »

Uhh, I don't think I expressed any doubt about its legitimacy. Where did you get that? Or the anger?

Five letter word that rhymes with poll....
SolEX01, what exactly are you trying to imply with this cryptic phrase?

I became fed up with this poster and how he cross posts all over the place on this board.
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« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2009, 10:43:02 AM »



Very nice!  laugh
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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2009, 01:26:55 PM »

Christ is risen!

I would like to formally apologize to truthstalker and ask for his forgiveness as I demonstrated unChristian and unchairitable behavior towards him.

Once again, I ask for forgiveness.  angel

Truly He is risen!
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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2009, 05:16:54 PM »

I don't know George. I read something once about some (19th century?)Russian Orthodox clerics  who witnessed it and reported it was a fraud. It would take some work for me to the find the link again. I came across it by chance, because I was researching the Holy Fire a bit. I don't know myself what to believe. Of course, I've never seen it myself and the way I understand it, the common laity aren't permitted to witness the actual ignition of the flame, because it's done in the sanctuary (please correct me if I am mistaken).

It was not Orthodox clerics in the plural but one Orthodox cleric, whom no one had heard it from his mouth, but read in his diary.  He was Archimandrite (later Bishop) Porphyrius Uspensky (1804-1885).   He supposedly wrote:  "A hierodeacon who penetrated into the shrine of the Tomb at the time when, as everyone believes, the holy fire descends, saw with horror that the fire is ignited from a mere icon-lamp which never goes out, and thus the holy fire isn't a miracle. He himself told me about this today" (Kniga bytija moego, vol. 1 (years 1841-1844), p. 671).  He does not state how this perpetual flame is supposed to stay lit, nor how its flicker escapes the inspection of the Muslim authorities. 

It is true, either 1.  Every Orthodox Patriarch and Bishop who claim that it is a true miracle are liars, and the Palestinian and Israeli authorities that inspect it thoroughly are all incompetent and Bishop Porphyrius' diary is correct or 2. Bishop Porphyrius' diary is interpolated or mistaken and every Orthodox patriarch and bishop who have proclaimed this, and the abbot daniel and others who have witnessed it are not liars, and the non-Christian authorities who wish that they could prove it to be untrue are competent (at least some of them?).  We must either witness it ourselves or decide which if the two is more probable. 
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2009, 05:27:27 PM »

Thank you, FatherHLL! Yes, that is the very diary entry I had stumbled across last year. I was rather surprised it had been written by a Russian cleric, because most Russians seem to very much believe in such miracles.
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2009, 08:36:46 PM »

Christ is risen!

I would like to formally apologize to truthstalker and ask for his forgiveness as I demonstrated unChristian and unchairitable behavior towards him.

Once again, I ask for forgiveness.  angel

Truly He is risen!

Apology accepted.  Thank you.
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« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2009, 08:49:23 PM »

I'd like to look at whether this miracle can legitimately be used to demonstrate that the patriarch of Jerusalem is of the One True Church.

One argument seemingly put forth so far seems to be that it cannot - only the Resurrection does that.

Another seemingly is that apostolic succession, not Holy Fire, does that.

Both of these seem to shift the argument away from the grounds of the thread. Are you saying this annual miracle, documented and witnessed for centuries by so many, has no theological significance?

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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2009, 08:20:21 PM »

I'd like to look at whether this miracle can legitimately be used to demonstrate that the patriarch of Jerusalem is of the One True Church.

One argument seemingly put forth so far seems to be that it cannot - only the Resurrection does that.

Another seemingly is that apostolic succession, not Holy Fire, does that.

Both of these seem to shift the argument away from the grounds of the thread. Are you saying this annual miracle, documented and witnessed for centuries by so many, has no theological significance?
I like to think of this miracle as a way of Christ showing that He is always with us even though we may abandon him.

But that is only one opinion.


Fixed quote tags and nothing more...  -PtA
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2009, 09:59:57 PM »

By the line that the Holy fire is proof for Orthodoxy, Catholics can say that Fatima, Guadalupe, Lourdes, etc, are proof for catholicism, Pentecostals can say that those 'slain in the Spirit' proof they are right, Hindus can point to when that Idol drank milk, etc, etc.

The Ressuretion of Christ God is the foundation of Christianity.

Christ is Risen.
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