The Holy Light ceremony was performed solemnly in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Shortly before 14:00, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem went out of the Holy Sepulcher, holding 33 candles in each hand, distributing the Holy Light to the pilgrims, chanting “Come, receive the Light” and spreading the message of the Resurrection to humankind.
After the ceremony, the Patriarch will hand over the Holy Light to the representative of the Greek State, Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Vlasis, while the Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher will transport it to Athens in a special lantern. “It is a supreme honor and blessing to receive the Holy Light directly from the Holy Sepulcher and to bring it to the homeland,” Kostas Vlasis wrote on Twitter.
Στο Καθολικό του Πανίερου Ναού της Αναστάσεως για την τελετή Αφής του Αγίου Φωτός. Αποτελεί ύψιστη τιμή και ευλογία να παραλαμβάνεις το Άγιο Φως κατευθείαν από τον Πανάγιο Τάφο και να το φέρνεις στην Πατρίδα. pic.twitter.com/2D38dgwlTT
— Kostas Vlasis (@KostasVlasis) May 1, 2021
The government plane that will transport the Holy Light is expected to arrive in Greece at 18:30 at Athens International Airport. “The State has taken care of the transfer of the Holy Light from the Holy Sepulcher to Athens and to all Greece,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Patriarchate of Jerusalem: Only the vaccinated will attend the Holy Light ceremony
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem gave permission only to the vaccinated Arab speaking faithful who wish to be in the Church of the Resurrection during the ceremony of the Holy Light.
According to a statement from the Patriarchate, the Arabic-speaking faithful from Jerusalem and the occupied territories, priests, commissioners or even faithful, who wish to attend the Holy Light ceremony on Holy Saturday, must arrive that day between 9.00 and 11.00 a.m. at the New Gate.
Those who have been vaccinated will receive approval from the police and the representatives of the Patriarchate, to enter the Church of the Resurrection, and those who have not been vaccinated will stay in the Central Monastery on the roofs of Saints Constantine and Helen Church.