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PHOTO GALLERY: Holy fire ceremony in Jerusalem draws thousands


Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the "Holy Fire" as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremonies (AFP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox pilgrims hold candles during Holy Fire ceremony in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Jerusalem (AP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox pilgrims hold candles during the Holy Fire ceremony in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Jerusalem (AP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox worshippers dance and pray around the Tomb of Jesus as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremony of the "Holy Fire" (AFP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the "Holy Fire" as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremonies (AFP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the "Holy Fire" as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremonies (AFP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox pilgrims hold candles during the Holy Fire ceremony in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Jerusalem (AP)
Jerusalem
Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2016 (Reuters)
Jerusalem
Silhouettes of Christian Orthodox worshippers are seen as a sunbeam shines from the rooftop while thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremony of the "Holy Fire" (AFP)
Jerusalem
Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the "Holy Fire" as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 30, 2016, during the Orthodox Easter ceremonies (AFP)
Jerusalem
Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2016 (Reuters)
Jerusalem
A Christian worshipper reacts as she takes part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2016 (Reuters)
Apr
30

Thousands of Christians have gathered in Jerusalem for the ancient fire ceremony that celebrates Jesus' resurrection.

In a ritual dating back at least 1,200 years, they crowded Saturday into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

During the annual ceremony, top Eastern Orthodox clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus' tomb.

They then emerge to reveal candles said to be miraculously lit with "holy fire" as a message to the faithful from heaven. The details of the flame's source are a closely guarded secret.

Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Easter in March, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter this week using the older Julian calendar.

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