Jerusalem churches reject Israeli restrictions on Holy Light Ceremony

Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Gerd Eichmann
(Photo: Wikimapia)
AMMAN — Jerusalem churches have rejected the “heavy-handed” restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces during the Holy Light ceremony at the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the Palestinian news agency, Wafa. اضافة اعلان

The Status Quo Committee of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land, and the Armenian Patriarchate have issued a joint statement in which they described the restrictions as "unreasonable".

“Police are unfairly and inappropriately placing the burden on the churches to issue invitations while tying the churches' hands with unreasonable restrictions that will prevent worshippers from attending particularly our local community. This makes difficult our coordination with the police,” said the statement.

LimitationIsraeli forces are insisting on limiting the number of worshipers in the church to 1,800 (1,000 Orthodox, 600 Armenians, and 200 police) while normally thousands attend the Holy Light ceremony as they wait for the light to come out from the tomb of Jesus Christ.

The ceremony is part of the orthodox churches Easter celebrations this week according to the Julian calendar.

Holy Light ceremony to proceed according to two millennia of traditionThe Holy Light ceremony has been taking place for nearly 2,000 years and attracts Christians from around the world.

The churches stressed that “we shall continue to uphold the status quo customs, and the ceremony will be held as customary for two millennia and all who wish to worship with us are invited to attend.”

With that made clear, we will leave the authorities to act as they will. The churches will freely worship and do so in peace.”

Last year, the Israeli forces placed barriers throughout the Old City, preventing local Christian communities from attending the ceremony.

This impeded on worshippers’ “freedom to worship and witness the miracle of the resurrection,” said the statement, despite the churches coordinating with the Israeli authorities to ensure this ceremony can take place without an incident.

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