Holy Fire: an eyewitness account
From the Editor:
We publish one of the stories sent to us for a contest announced in social networks. We note that believers have different attitudes toward the Holy Fire, one can argue, one can believe, but we would like to pay attention to that spiritual uplift that the author of this short story about the convergence of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem described.
On the morning of Great Saturday, I got up on the alarm only at 7 in the morning – it is very late, while our whole group spent this night under the walls of the Church of the Resurrection. When I went down for breakfast, the only guest who sat and had a peaceful breakfast asked me in surprise: Am I not going to meet the Holy Fire?
Having received an affirmative answer, he raised his eyes to the sky and disappointedly notified me that I was already late. I replied that I would try, picked up some food with me and went to my room …
On this day, I decided not to drink or eat anything before trying to get to the meeting of the Holy Fire. I think everyone guessed why … I had to stand for many hours, there was nowhere to powder near my nose and all that.
When I left the hotel, and it was inside the Old Town, our tiny street was blocked by the police. I went into the store and went out to another door leading to the square.
The square was sunny, but in the morning it was cool, a crowd of people stood in front of a shopping street closed by a police cordon. Everyone was very warmly dressed: winter jackets, hats, many spent the night right here. Cordon city has been blocked since yesterday.
Oddly enough, there were almost all Russian-speaking people around, I was next to the guide whom we had met the day before, walking alone around the city (which attracted his attention), reading the twelve Gospels to the church of Mary Magdalene.
A few hours passed in anticipation, and finally the Israeli police in a loudspeaker began to warn the worrying crowd that the cordon would be open soon, please do not push around and take a step back …
The most amazing force is the crowd, as if you were swinging on its waves, so small and helpless. The crowd suddenly presses, clutching the bones with terrible force, and after some time lets go. Our guide knew all the time to tell me to close my eyes and “swing on the waves” …
It was almost hard, the thought throbbed in my head: where am I ?! I'm right here, a few meters and hours away from an amazing miracle.
First, they opened one cordon, and the crowd rushed forward along the narrow streets of closed shopping arcades, I was confused, and then someone grabbed me by the arm and led me …
It turned out that I was taken under the patronage of the Georgian brothers, we ran on the next cordon. It stood for several hours, the sun was almost at its zenith, it was warm, even hot, I wanted to drink, but it was tolerable … It is amazing that in this viscous, dense crowd I always came across people with whom we had somehow met before, for example, I saw the correspondent of the radio station in interesting bright yellow clothes, called out. For some time the woman studied me in surprise and suddenly remembered our recent meeting, and began to smile. The feeling of unity entailed the exchange of addresses, phones, what was happening imperceptibly brought everyone together.
The expectation was not marked by anything special, the Arabs shouted:
– Water, water …
– Don’t push, stop pushing, take a step back (in all languages).
On the side constantly, someone made his way forward: with cameras and just like that. Sometimes there were small brawls. Then they began to pray and sing: someone started and picked up everything, louder and louder, in different languages. Each his own, in turn … Everyone suffered and waited, there was an amazing unity! Awesome, non-annoying crowd unity.
And I could not even move my hand, so I could not take pictures. Sometimes she laid her head on the back in front of the standing guide, the crowd periodically disconnected us and reconnected. We practically did not move. It seemed that I remembered for a long time the outline of the bar where we had been standing for several hours. But it was surprisingly easy! I closed my eyes …
The police did not let anyone forward, not even the priests, through the cordon.
And finally, they opened the cordon, everyone ran again, and I saw the temple. The girls in the back burst into tears of joy. Gone!
Everyone was very worried that they couldn’t get inside, there was a state of nervous expectation, people around were annoyed from time to time: “that year everything was different, this year they won’t let anyone into the service …”, scolded the police.
And here we are in the temple, it doesn’t matter the place we take, we are here!
The hardest hours of waiting began. I got to the temple at 12 o’clock, the beginning of the first. It was very crowded, someone was feeling ill – and in an incredible way doctors squeezed to the scene of the tragedy, carried the man in his arms. There was nowhere to move, we ran to the column, we could lean on it – it was a great salvation, a fulcrum. The last hour was the hardest, minutes dragged on like hours. Nearby was a possessed woman; she was not screaming in her own voice. But there was an indescribable feeling of an almost tangible miracle. Our priests surprisingly harmoniously sang bass, literally exploding the tense silence of the temple with their voices. Still, there were more Russian pilgrims than anyone else, from this the heart was filled with joy.
Soon blue flashes appeared, at first they could not be distinguished from flashes of cameras, but then they became more distinct. It’s like a thunderstorm, very similar – lightning discharges, only without thunder. At first I can’t believe that these are the same flashes seen many times on TV.
I almost did not see Kuvukliya, but flashes rushed all over the temple: the walls, the dome …
When the fire came down, I could not hold back my tears!
It was the beginning of the third local time.
I know for sure that I remembered this minute for my whole life!
The fire spread like lightning throughout the temple, it seemed that everything around them was blazing red-yellow, as if a fire had begun. I personally touched the Holy Fire: it really is not hot at all, even cold droplets remained on it from my hand.
It happened! He came down! And I am here! In the very center of the universe!
Christ is risen! Truly Christ has risen!
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