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Author Topic: The Holy Light  (Read 3541 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 16, 2011, 10:41:19 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I was just wondering what everybody here believed about the Holy light in Jerusalem on Pascha.
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 08:07:31 PM »

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a flame that had been sustained since the early centuries of Christianity (Olympic torch style). Now that I know many claim it spontaneously appears at some time, I don't know what to make of it.
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 08:22:17 PM »

I've never been sure what to make of it. There are many stories of people who know it is a hoax, but that doesn't make any sense. The many hoaxes perpetuated throughout history all share common aspects, that is that they are out of the way sites trying to make a name for themselves, usually at the hands of Greedy prelates,however the Holy Fire is both reoccuring, and takes place on a site that is certainly not out of the way, already has a name made for itself, and has much to lose if a hoax is proven.

Personally I'll keep an open mind toward it but I don't think much of it, faith should not be based on miracles.
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 08:29:30 PM »

You should just YOUTUBE "holy fire in jerusalem" but this is the shortest clip I could find that "brings the point home".  It's a little "fantastic" but I think answers some basic questions. 

Just youtube "holy fire in jerusalem" though and there are plenty of modern-day videos you could watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXl56ikowUI&feature=related
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2011, 09:04:35 PM »

I believe it to be real.

The thing I find interesting, is that it garners so little attention.

How can a miracle, recurring on schedule....not be known throughout the world?  How is it that everyone has heard of Fatima, etc....but, not the Holy Light?

Ask anyone at work, and see if they have any idea what you are talking about.

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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 10:03:54 PM »

Medieval Muslim writers write about witnessing it.
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 10:14:21 AM »

The best video online right now is called "Holy Light in Jerusalem: Proofs & Testimonies." It's a series of segments from Greek TV with English subtitles. There are several first-person testimonies and some good discussion.

Here's a direct link (that is slated to be taken off of Google in a bit, so get it while you can): http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2424461795020083069#
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2011, 06:32:49 PM »

     Before I became an Orthodox Christian I found myself almost unintentionally defending Orthodox Christian doctrine to many Protestant brethren. That was one way I knew what I was, and where my faith lied.
     However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.

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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 07:35:59 PM »

I hope and pray it is not a hoax. The damage that would be done to the faith of many were this so ...
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011, 07:36:50 PM »

     Before I became an Orthodox Christian I found myself almost unintentionally defending Orthodox Christian doctrine to many Protestant brethren. That was one way I knew what I was, and where my faith lied.
     However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.



I have to agree with you, I've always been a bit disturbed by those who require miracles to hold on to their faith. I think that no one uses it to evangelize shows that precept is a central tenant of the Orthodox life.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2011, 11:11:03 PM »

     Before I became an Orthodox Christian I found myself almost unintentionally defending Orthodox Christian doctrine to many Protestant brethren. That was one way I knew what I was, and where my faith lied.
     However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.



I have to agree with you, I've always been a bit disturbed by those who require miracles to hold on to their faith. I think that no one uses it to evangelize shows that precept is a central tenant of the Orthodox life.

I am a little confused by your last statement. Are you saying that Orthodox Christians don't or shouldn't evangelize?
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2011, 11:13:17 PM »

     Before I became an Orthodox Christian I found myself almost unintentionally defending Orthodox Christian doctrine to many Protestant brethren. That was one way I knew what I was, and where my faith lied.
     However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.



I have to agree with you, I've always been a bit disturbed by those who require miracles to hold on to their faith. I think that no one uses it to evangelize shows that precept is a central tenant of the Orthodox life.

I am a little confused by your last statement. Are you saying that Orthodox Christians don't or shouldn't evangelize?
I'm saying they don't, and shouldn't, evangelize based on miracles. i.e. "The Orthodox faith is correct and we know this because of the Holy Light". This seems somewhat common among Catholics and Protestants.
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2011, 11:15:01 PM »

However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.

I would say the purpose is to announce the Resurrection to the faithful. Not that it is a necessary miracle...but then, miracles are not necessary in and of themselves.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2011, 11:35:50 PM »

I believe the "Holy Fire" to be the "Light,"  "...from the unwaining Light...," a manifestation of our Lord's confirmation of the truth of Holy Orthodox Christianity; although this ceremony is conducted 12 hours before that hymn is called for to be chanted liturgically.  No sources to quote, just my opinion.  (There is a story, the source of which I can't recall for corroboration, that one year during the Ottoman Turkish Occupation, the Armenian Apostolic Church made payment  to the Turkish authorities for the Armenian Patriarch to be the recipient of the Flame; there was no self-igniting flame that year.)
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 10:43:36 AM »

     Before I became an Orthodox Christian I found myself almost unintentionally defending Orthodox Christian doctrine to many Protestant brethren. That was one way I knew what I was, and where my faith lied.
     However, this is not such a case. I personally have never been a fan of the Holy Fire. I do not understand its purpose. In videos I do not see Orthodox Christians using it to evangelize. It does not make the lame walk or the blind see. To me all of this encourages pride and self righteousness than anything else, and that still assumes that the Holy Fire is real to begin with.



Actually, the holy light does have curative powers (in the first few minutes it does not burn like regular fire and many have put it to ailing spots on their bodies and have been healed), besides the fact that the miracle has brought many to faith. But, since we have put ourselves in a place of judgment over God's actions, we refuse to acknowledge these miracles.
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2011, 12:14:07 PM »

(There is a story, the source of which I can't recall for corroboration, that one year during the Ottoman Turkish Occupation, the Armenian Apostolic Church made payment  to the Turkish authorities for the Armenian Patriarch to be the recipient of the Flame; there was no self-igniting flame that year.)



There was one. The fire penetrated the Church wall because Chalcedonians were outside the Church.
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2011, 12:55:02 PM »

in the first few minutes it does not burn like regular fire

The claims that the Holy Light fire does not burn have been tested against regular fire, and it appears that anyone messing with a regular flame as we see in videos from Pascha there would not be burnt either.

Healing miracles may stand as evidence that the Holy Light is real, but continued use of the claim "this fire is special because it doesn't burn" makes us look dishonest.
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2011, 08:46:52 PM »

Before I repose from this world (and hopefully be given eternal life), I hope to see this in person.  The Holy Fire/Light is something I have dreamed about seeing since childhood.
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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2011, 01:02:34 AM »

I believe it to be real.

The thing I find interesting, is that it garners so little attention.

How can a miracle, recurring on schedule....not be known throughout the world?  How is it that everyone has heard of Fatima, etc....but, not the Holy Light?

Ask anyone at work, and see if they have any idea what you are talking about.



Maybe we need to start pestering the Western press until they start doing stories on it.
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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2011, 01:10:23 AM »

So are their now candles still lit with the Holy Fire since Pascha and are they still now burning?  Does anyone have access to this fire other then on Pascha and at the Holy Sep

I agree that it's a great miracle for sure.
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« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2011, 02:14:34 AM »

So are their now candles still lit with the Holy Fire since Pascha and are they still now burning?  Does anyone have access to this fire other then on Pascha and at the Holy Sep

I agree that it's a great miracle for sure.

It doesnt exist anywhere else (as far as I know), but i'm not sure if it exists in other forms...?

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« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2011, 03:04:11 AM »

I believe it. I think it's an amazing miracle and am grateful for it.
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« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2011, 04:32:48 PM »

If a candle or lantrin were lit with the Holy fire and these were brought to the ends of the Earth and constantly re lit, then wouldn't some of this fire still be burning year round?
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2011, 04:45:05 PM »


The flame is taken via lanterns all over the world.  From Jerusalem the flame is transported to various countries to light up churches at midnight as the faithful call out "Christ is risen!"



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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2011, 10:31:12 PM »

I think His Beatitude gives the flame first to the Armenian Apostolic Church's Patriarch.
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2011, 10:47:08 PM »

 


Why ....They shouldn't be allowed to recieve the flame Directly from the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch , it should be given to a Coptic Orthodox Patriarch First Instead ,and then the Armenians should recieve it from the Coptic one, because of what they pulled back then .... police



I think His Beatitude gives the flame first to the Armenian Apostolic Church's Patriarch.
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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2011, 05:00:18 PM »

Do the Latin Rite Catholics also recieve the flame?
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« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2011, 05:04:14 PM »

Do the Latin Rite Catholics also receive the flame?

No Catholics (Latin, Eastern, Oriental) take part. Pope Gregory IX stated that it is a fraud but I remember reading that Pope John Paul II was given the Fire by a Syriac Patriarch during his visit to Vatican.
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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2011, 05:07:22 PM »

I think the catholic's some if not all ,call it a fraud ,because they don't control  the miracle or the Church of the Resurrection...they have their own church next door with a door leading into Church of the Resurrection......From what i heard and read....


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« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2011, 07:36:21 PM »

If the Holy Light were proven a fraud, would Orthodox's credibility as a whole be damaged or only the credibility of the Patriarch of Jerusalem?

I tend to think the latter since there is some skepticism even within the Church.

This is merely hypothetical; I hope that the Holy Light is true, but to me it doesn't really matter.
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« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2011, 07:49:32 PM »


It's true ,You Can Believe it......And Never fear.... police
I thought i read somewhere on this forum  ,the the Holy Light aways Illuminated the place
even before a Church structure was build over the Area........



If the Holy Light were proven a fraud, would Orthodox's credibility as a whole be damaged or only the credibility of the Patriarch of Jerusalem?

I tend to think the latter since there is some skepticism even within the Church.

This is merely hypothetical; I hope that the Holy Light is true, but to me it doesn't really matter.
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« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2011, 11:17:26 PM »

The following is the part that bothers me about it; however, it does not matter to me one way of the other. It is symbolic of another Fire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Fire#Criticism

In 2005 in a live demonstration on Greek television, Michael Kalopoulos, author and historian of religion, dipped three candles in white phosphorus. The candles spontaneously ignited after approximately 20 minutes due to the self-ignition properties of white phosphorus when in contact with air. According to Kalopoulos' website:

If phosphorus is dissolved in an appropriate organic solvent, self-ignition is delayed until the solvent has almost completely evaporated. Repeated experiments showed that the ignition can be delayed for half an hour or more, depending on the density of the solution and the solvent employed.

Kalopoulos also points out that knowledge of chemical reactions of this nature was well known in ancient times, quoting Strabo, who states "In Babylon there are two kinds of naphtha springs, a white and a black. The white naphtha is the one that ignites with fire." (Strabon Geographica 16.1.15.1-24) He further states that phosphorus was used by Chaldean magicians in the early fifth century BC, and by the ancient Greeks, in a way similar to its supposed use today by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.
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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2011, 01:23:44 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejnzXOxGX_M

MK: Description: It's the video the previous poster described about candles being dipped in phosphorus on Greek television.
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2011, 06:03:55 PM »

The patriarch is inspected for any kind of ignition source. 

I am sure that their is a test to perform to detect something as simple as phosphorus.  The test is probably simple and cheap, as Nurseries and Pet shops sell kits to detect phosphorus levels. 
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2011, 06:18:53 PM »

In 2005 in a live demonstration on Greek television, Michael Kalopoulos, author and historian of religion, dipped three candles in white phosphorus. The candles spontaneously ignited after approximately 20 minutes due to the self-ignition properties of white phosphorus when in contact with air.

How will it cost to dip dozens of thousands of wicks into that?
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« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2011, 01:12:32 AM »

The point with the dipping in the chemical is that the chemical oxidizes (i.e. burns) in air spontaneously with no need for an ignition source of any kind at all. Dip them in, set them aside and eventually they catch fire simply by sitting there, untouched, and not near any ignition sources of any kind, or people for that matter.

This is a question of the activation energy of that reaction. It has a low energy threshold to start the reaction so it simply starts in air, unaided with no need to push the reaction forward with an ignition source like a match. That is why a man could pass inspection for matches, etc. They are not needed so they are not there.

Such things are basic chemistry. To an observer who did not see the dipping, it would look very much like spontaneous combustion when they saw the ignition happen with no aid at all.

I am not suggesting that this is the the way this is 'actually done' (whatever that means). I am only pointing out that if a non-miraculous explanation can be made, and it can in this case, that it should be considered first before a miracle is assigned to the event at hand.

This in no way means that it's not a miracle. It only means that it can be explained fairly well by non-supernatural models of the behaviour of nature (i.e. the candles burning via a chemical reaction).

Perhaps there are many other ways to explain this as well. That does not matter. Only one of the ways is needed since it alone provides an alternative to the miraculous way of looking at it.



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« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2011, 01:20:36 AM »

How will it cost to dip dozens of thousands of wicks into that?

First of all, provide one shred of evidence that "dozens of thousands" of candles have all spontaneously ignited at the same time. There are no accounts of any such thing, so stop exaggerating.

Basic economics. Revenues from pilgrim donations - Cost of phosphorus - costs of candles = Serious Profit, no matter how you slice it.

Just so we are clear, I have no idea if this miracle is authentic and I am not arguing against it. But since you decided to introduce cost as a factor that would make the use of white phosphorus improbable, I thought it merited a response.
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« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2011, 01:41:34 AM »

I spoke to a very devout Greek friend, and he said he had spoken to a monk from Jerusalem who didn't believe in the flame.
The Patriarch (of Jerusalem) found out about this, and told the monk that there is a window looking into the Sepulchre, and just before he (the Patriarch) goes into the Sepulchre, to sit and watch through the window.
The monk did just as he had said, and this is how it went:
The authorities searched & stripped (not entirely) the Patriarch. They went inside the Holy Sepulchre and searched it for any possible light source, and then the Patriarch entered, and the authorities sealed it off.
The Patriarch then bowed his head with his candle in hand, and began praying. At first nothing happened, but after several minutes of sitting in complete silence praying, then the inside of the tomb was lit up by a bright blue light and suddenly the candle of the Patriarch lit spontaneously. The Patriarch remained with his head bowed and eyes closed while the flame of the candle burned underneath and around his face. (though he was not burned, not even his beard) Eventually the blue light had subsided and the Patriarch emerged from the tomb with the Holy Flame.
The monk that witnessed this was dumbfounded and apparently very pale and very shocked. Eventually, he went with the other monks, who saw how pale and shaky he was, and they said, "Ah, so you went to the window too?".
Needless to say, this monk now believes in the Holy Flame.

Again, that is an account from a friend of mine here in Greece. I cannot vouch for the story or it's authenticity, but I certainly do believe in the Holy Light.

If you also think about the known fact that on Theophany when the Patriarch places the cross in the Jordan, it miraculously reverses its flow, then I feel there is no doubt about these other miracles.

I don't think you have to believe in these miracles, but when people actively try to disprove them, then I would say they have questionable faith.
The Apostle Thomas didn't believe Christ was risen, but he still didn't try to prove the others wrong, he simply wanted proof. (though that isn't a model for us, certainly)
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« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2011, 01:54:25 AM »

This chemical is not uncommon. Its well used in many applications. Have a look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_phosphorus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotropes_of_phosphorus#White_phosphorus

In terms of price, look for a distributor like Aldrich (or similar lab supply company) and search their catalogues. You may find something.

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/canada-english.html


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« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2011, 01:59:39 AM »

This chemical is not uncommon. Its well used in many applications. Have a look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_phosphorus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotropes_of_phosphorus#White_phosphorus

In terms of price, look for a distributor like Aldrich (or similar lab supply company) and search their catalogues. You may find something.

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/canada-english.html

Doesn't WP smell bad when it burns/combusts? If so, I would definitely think it would be very clear if the Patriarch was using it, and if others in the crowd were using it...

Obviously, that also doesn't account for the burn on the column when the Patriarch was locked out one Pascha. Nor for the blue ball of light and blue flashes seen at the Church when this happens.

Nor for the fact that it doesn't burn...
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« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2011, 02:03:35 AM »

Regarding this:

"I don't think you have to believe in these miracles, but when people actively try to disprove them, then I would say they have questionable faith."

I think I disagree. It should be a requirement for people to use their heads as much as their hearts. Ignoring the physically plausible one way or the other is not good at all.

By the way, no offence is meant at all in my responce to this. Its just interesting conversation. Smiley


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« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2011, 02:06:02 AM »

"Nor for the fact that it doesn't burn..."

Like i said a few times, I think it could very well be a miracle. I have no idea if it is or not.

I presonally hope that it is. Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2011, 02:26:57 AM »

I find the "scientific" explanations of this phenomenon similar to the secular explanations given for other miracles.  For instance, there was a popular History Channel on the Ten Plagues that attempted to form a natural explanation for the series of plagues that beset Egypt in the Old Testament.  Frankly, the speculation and grasping done by the "scientists" creates an explanation that seems much more "unlikely" that the traditional explanation that it was a miracle. A secular culture will seek a secular explanation whatever the cost.

The explanation that somehow for 1000 years the Patriarchate of Jerusalem has conducted a hoax using white phosphorous seems more unlikely than the traditional explanation that the Holy Light is a miracle  (first of all, phosphorus combustion creates incredible heat, much more than needed to burn flesh, garment, or beard).  To deny that miracles take place is to deny the entire Christian faith. 
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« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2011, 02:49:23 AM »

Regarding this:

"I don't think you have to believe in these miracles, but when people actively try to disprove them, then I would say they have questionable faith."

I think I disagree. It should be a requirement for people to use their heads as much as their hearts. Ignoring the physically plausible one way or the other is not good at all.

By the way, no offence is meant at all in my responce to this. Its just interesting conversation. Smiley




I don't think I probably worded my statement very well... I wasn't speaking against using your head. Obviously we need to do that to discern and protect against deceit. But what I'm talking about are those who actively try to disprove something.
For example, when we have a weeping icon, it is generally regarded as a miracle, but it is our job to be watchful and careful about it, and to use our heads to determine if it's a miracle or deceit. But when someone doesn't just doubt it, but actively tries to disprove it, then I believe that is wrong.

In our Church we don't have what the Roman Catholic Church has when there is a devil's advocat regarding miracles or canonization. One is free to believe in (or not) certain miracles. But in my opinion, if one is constantly trying to disprove something, then there is something wrong.
(For example, I believe those who are constantly trying to prove that St. Peter the Aleut didn't exist are wrong and need to stop. IT's ok if they don't believe it, but to actively oppose his canonization and his existence is simply wrong)

Obviously though, there are some miracles that you cannot ever deny as Orthodox. Orthodox can't deny the Resurrection, the Ascension, Christ's healings, or anything else like that. If someone denies those, they simply aren't Orthodox. But there are other minor miracles that are a part of our tradition (lower-case) that one can believe in or not and still be Orthodox. But if someone doesn't believe Christ's miracles, then he isn't Orthodox, and in my opinion, he's not even a Christian.
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« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2011, 02:20:20 AM »

I agree.
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« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2011, 03:41:22 AM »

I think that after over 1,000 years of recorded descriptions of the miracle of the Holy Fire, if it were a fraud, someone would have revealed what the fraud is.  Someone with an ax to grind, like the previous Patriarch who is hold up in the Patriarchal residence, would have cause to leak what fraud was being perpetrated.  No, this has to be a manifestation of the the "Light," which we pray for at midnight every Pascha, "Come receive the Light, from the Unwaining Light..."  (Recall too, the one year the Light did not manefest itself, when the Armenian's had convinced the Ottoman Turks to allow the Armenian Patriarch to be the prime recipient.)  As to the possibilities of the phosphorus being the cause of the ignition, I'm sure the Israeli security forces, or the Ottoman's before them over the centuries, would not have hesitated to reveal its existence if they knew or suspected it as the source of the Fire.
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« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2011, 04:04:44 AM »

(Recall too, the one year the Light did not manefest itself, when the Armenian's had convinced the Ottoman Turks to allow the Armenian Patriarch to be the prime recipient.) 

It did:
It is also claimed that in 1579, the Armenian patriarch Hovhannes I of Constantinople prayed day and night in order to obtain the holy fire, but lightning miraculously struck a column near the entrance and lit a candle held by the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius IV standing nearby.[5] Upon entering the temple, the Orthodox Christians would embrace this column, which bears marks and a large crack that they attribute to the lightning-bolt.
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« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2011, 12:47:49 AM »

(Recall too, the one year the Light did not manefest itself, when the Armenian's had convinced the Ottoman Turks to allow the Armenian Patriarch to be the prime recipient.)  

It did:
It is also claimed that in 1579, the Armenian patriarch Hovhannes I of Constantinople prayed day and night in order to obtain the holy fire, but lightning miraculously struck a column near the entrance and lit a candle held by the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius IV standing nearby.[5] Upon entering the temple, the Orthodox Christians would embrace this column, which bears marks and a large crack that they attribute to the lightning-bolt.

Why then do the Armenians revere the fire if it disrespects them

Quotes edited - MK.
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« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2011, 07:27:06 AM »

Why then do the Armenians revere the fire if it disrespects them
Quotes edited - MK.

I've heard that in their version of the story it were Armenians who were outside.
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