Pardon my inquisitive Latin mind, but has there been a recorded and verified picture of either the Greek Orthodox Patriarch or the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch showing how, when, and where the INITIAL candle is miraculously lit up?
All the pictures thus far being shown are the light being passed from inside the tomb to the faithful waiting outside and to the others in and outside of the Church.
I think this "gap" leads some people to believe in this alleged "first person" account of the event:
Be that as it may, I do believe in real miracles!
If you read the story you will see that on Holy Thursday the Tomb is searched for matches, lighters etc. by both Israeli and Moselm guards, Then the doors are closed and a wax seal is attached to the doors which those who searched the Tomb mark seals into the wax. On Holy Saturday prior to the Patriarchs entrance the doors are checked to see that the wax and seals are intact. The Patriarch is searched and disrobes down to a plain whte robe prior to his entrance.
I have a video of the whole thing but it is allin Russian. Many times not only does the light come from inside the Tomb but from the Dome of the Church like lighting bolts or static electricity. Many of the candles of the
people waiting are lit by these blots from the dome. You can also access the following two sites to see and read more. One of these two sites also has video which can be downloaded for you to see. For the first five minutes or so the fire DOES NOT BURN! The video shows most (if not all) of what you disbelieve -
From an email I sent to my cousin on this very thing -
Here are some websites that explain the miracle of the Holy Fire which occurs every Orthodox Pascha (Easter) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre -
(look to the left to access the video clips that can be downloaded) http://www.holyfire.org/eng/ http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/St.Pachomius/hvidt-fire.html
To see actual pictures taken this past Holy Saturday access the following site - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1115411/posts
What Is The Holy Fire?
This ceremony takes place in the Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in the Holy city of Jerusalem in such a way that bewilders the soul of the Christians. It takes place every single year, at the same time, in the same manner, and on the same spot.
On Easter Saturday, at noon, the Orthodox Patriarch, or any other Orthodox Archbishop, enters the Holy Sepulchre, recites special prayers and remains waiting. Sometimes the waiting is long, sometimes short. The crowd, in the darkened church, repeats continually with a loud voice: "Lord, have mercy." (Kyrie eleison). At a certain moment the Holy Light flashes from the depth of the Holy Sepulchre in a supernatural way, miraculously, and lights up the little lamp of olive oil put on the edge of it. The Patriarch (or the Archbishop), after having read some prayers, lights up the two clusters of 33 candles he is holding, and begins to distribute the Holy Light to the multitude of pilgrims, who receive it with great emotion, accompanied with the pealing of bells, acclamations, and an unbridled enthusiasm.
The Holy Light is not only distributed by the Archbishop, but operates also by itself. It emits from the Holy Sepulchre having a gleam of a hue completely different from that of natural light. It sparkles, it flashes like lightning, it flies like a dove around the tabernacle of the the Holy Sepulchre, and lights up the unlit lamps of olive oil hanging in front of it. It whirls from one side of the church to the other. It enters to some of the chapels inside the church, as for instance the chapel of the Calvery (at a higher level than the Holy Sepulchre) and lights up the little lamps. It lights up also the candles of certain pilgrims. In fact there are some very pious pilgrims who, every time they attended this ceremony, noticed that their candles lit up on the own accord!
This divine light also presents some special peculiarities: As soon as it appears it has a bluish hue and does not burn. At the first moments of its appearance, if it touches the face, or the mouth, or the hands, it does not burn.
The appearance of the Holy Light is an event which occurs every year in front of thousands of visual witnesses. Nobody can deny it. On the contrary, this miracle can reinforce those who have lack of faith.
The Testimony of the Patriarch
When the tomb has been checked and sealed, the whole Church chants the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy). At 1:45 PM the Patriarch enters the scene. In the wake of a large procession he encircles the Tomb three times, whereupon he is stripped of his royal liturgical vestments, carrying only his white alba, a sign of humility in front of the great potent of God, to which he is about to be the key witness. All the oillamps have been blown out the preceding night, and now all remains of artificial light are extinguished, so that most of the Church is enveloped in darkness. With two big candles the patriarch enters the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre - first into the small room in front of the tomb and from there into the tomb itself.
It is not possible to follow the events inside the tomb, so I asked the patriarch of Jerusalem, Diodorus, about the center of the events.
"Your Beatittude, what happens when you enter the Holy Sepulchre?"
"I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after his death and where he rose again from the dead. Praying in the Holy Sepulchre in itself is for me always a very holy moment in a very holy place. It is from here that he rose again in glory, and it is from there that he spread his light to the world. John the Evangelist writes in the first chapter of his gospel that Jesus is the light of the World. Kneeling in front of the place where he rose from the dead, we are brought within the immediate closeness of his glorious resurrection. Catholics and Protestants call this Church "The Church of the Holy Sepulchre". We call it "The Church of the Resurrection". The Resurrection of Christ for us Orthodox is the center of our faith. In his resurrection Christ has gained the final victory over death, not just his own death but the death of all those who will stay close to him.
"I believe it to be no coincidence that the Holy Fire comes on exactly this spot. In Matthew 28:3, it says that when Christ rose from the dead, an angel came, dressed all in a fearful light. I believe that the striking light that enveloped the angel at the Lord’s resurrection is the same light that appears miraculously every Easter Saturday. Christ wants to remind us that his resurrection is a reality and not just a myth; he really came to the world in order to give the necessary sacrifice through his death and resurrection so that man could be re-united with his creator.
"I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the color may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake - it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn - I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oillamp.
"At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church."