New to True or false the Greek Fire


Greek Pascal fire:

Testing Seven issues. Your answer!

By Prof. F. Nazar


Every Saturday noon before Easter Sunday, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem enters Jesus’s tomb alone with 66 candles and comes out with fire on them, even if the tomb was previously sealed and he was checked for matches before entering.

This video is impressive but doesn’t address 7 issues which question it:

1. Timing

Summa Theologica: “Now Christ's resurrection was at night, as Gregory says in a homily for Easter” (xxi in Evang.)

Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerick saw it and described it:

It was towards eleven o’clock at night when the Blessed Virgin, incited by irrepressible feelings of love, arose, wrapped a grey cloak around her, and left the house quite alone…

Mary then went to Calvary; but when she had almost reached it, she stopped suddenly,

and I saw the sacred body and soul of our Saviour standing before her…

It was then, I think, past midnight, for the pilgrimage of Mary over the Way of the Cross had taken up at least an hour…

It was about half-past three when our Lord appeared to Magdalen, and John and Peter entered the garden just as she was leaving it.

Mt 28,1: After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,* Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

Lc 24,1: But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

One thing is unquestionable: Jesus resurrected on Sunday before dawn. Word of God. Amen.

Why would a miracle related to his resurrection occur on the wrong day and time? (Saturday 12:00 PM).

Why does the miracle is not punctual and differs by many minutes each year?

2. Natural calendar

God is the Lord of history. He still rules the motions of the earth, moon and sun. Emmerick explains that some feasts are related to their position. That’s why Resurrection Sunday lies the closest after the first full moon after spring (vernal equinox).

Old Julian Calendar, used by the Orthodox Greeks, does not follow God’s natural order as well as our Gregorian Calendar: it has a much larger deviation with respect to the movement of celestial bodies!

God does not make mistakes. He is omnisapient and omnipresent.

Why God would choose a false cosmological date?

3. Supernatural calendar

The Pascal time (50 days after Resurrection) is a period for rejoicing. We even pray joyful Regina Coeli instead of the Angelus. This liturgical period overcomes even nature: for instance, in the Southern Hemisphere it is the beginning of “sad” winter.

Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerick explains that God pours graces following the Roman Catholic Church liturgical calendar. Why the Roman Church? Jesus gave Peter the keys which untie and pour Heaven’s graces:

Mt 16,18-19: And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church (note: Jesus didn’t say “my churches”), and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Note: in the Old Testament we learn that the keys are transferred to the next occupant of the position, in this case, the Seat of Rome.

Emmerick had even thematic visions according to the feasts of her local diocese. Why? The Pope, by delegating his power, allows bishops to establish some feasts, but not all, and especially not Resurrection Sunday.

Why wouldn’t God prefer the calendar of the only “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”* set by Pope Gregory XIII, THE representative of Christ on earth?

*Nicene Creed 381 AD

4. God can’t lead away from His Church

Some Orthodox use this ‘miracle’ to deny the infallibility of the Seat of Peter bestowed by Jesus.

Doctor of the Church, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in the best book ever, about Virgin Mary, the “Treaty of the True Devotion to Mary”, wrote that God can’t do miracles which would not point to the Roman Catholic Church. If not, He would be leading people away from Truth.

Big checkable miracles happen only in the Catholic Church. In the separated orthodox churches, there are no incorrupt bodies of saints, no Eucharistic miracles, no miracles of the Sun (like Fatima), no healings due to the canonization of a Saint, no stigmatists (non-Catholics, convert to Catholicism, the true Church), no messages from Our Lady, no liquefying blood of saints, no holy oil emanating from saint’s bodies, etc.

Why would God lead you away from the only Church which has the fullness of the means of salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church #816, Unitatis redintegratio 3 § 5), according to the II Ecumenical Vatican Council?

Example: the person who filmed the above video said he was converted by the Greek fire to the Greek Church. According to St. John Bosco’s vision, it would be like helping you jump from the safety of the Ark of Peter to a small boat (other Christian churches without all means of salvation)… in the middle of a storm! According to Emmerick’s vision of the mystical body of Christ, schismatic Christian churches are like nearly severed but still living parts (like hanging from an artery, but not very functional as growth statistics reveal).

5. Historical records

Before 870 AD, there are no testimonies, even among dozens of documented pilgrimages to the Holy Land. After that, there are too few comments among thousands of pilgrim’s diaries.

Why would God the Son wait nearly a thousand years to honor his resurrection with such sign?

Why are there so few comments, especially among Roman Catholics?

6. Is God Greek?

There was at least one period formally assumed by a non-Greek patriarch (Russian): no fire.

“Historically, attempts to detach the Miracle from the local (Greek) Bishop have been just as unsuccessful”

Why would it prefer the Greek Patriarch among other orthodox ones or even among other bishops with more antiquity, local roots and faithfulness to Jesus Church (Peter’s) like the Maronite (Syrian-Lebanese Roman Catholic rite)?

Why would God not favor the Latin rite Roman Catholic Bishop or even the Pope?

God does not discriminate. God is not unfair. He is perfect justice. It makes no sense that over a thousand years only all Greek Patriarch “deserved” this honor even if other bishops would have a higher right, either formally (closeness to Peter’s Cathedra) or subjectively (personal sainthood).

If God wanted a testimony for all nations, why would He choose a national Church (Greek), instead of a truly “universal” one: the Roman Catholic Church, the one He founded?

7. Should you trust your own very eyes?

a) Why isn’t anybody allowed to witness the actual lighting? Why does it take so long to light the 66 candles? Wouldn’t an angel do it in an instant? Why it fails with other Patriarchs? Hidden match? Phosphorus in a detachable part of the clothes? Delayed chemical reaction in the candles?

b) It’s easy to digitally edit a video

c) Digital CMOS sensor and autofocus processing algorithms cause weird effects sometimes.

d) Daemons have power over the material, if God allows. Check youtube videos of self called pentecostal charismatic evangelical protestants, falling and flying off when touched by the “pastor”.

Only the Pope of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church has the authority to say that something is really a trustworthy miracle (constat de supernaturalitate). Why didn’t it happen in over a thousand years?

“When the apparently uninitiated Crusaders took over the Orthodox clergy in charge of the fire, it failed to appear, increasing the skepticism. In 1238, Pope Gregory IX, who canonized St. Francis of Assisi, denounced the Holy Fire as a fraud.

Wikipedia: not 100% trustworthy but might contain some truths

As with all alleged miracles, many question the validity of the Holy Fire, noting, for instance, that cold-handed pilgrims generally withstand the fire for the same very brief periods of time as can be achieved with any fire.

Criticism dates at least to the days of Islamic rule of Jerusalem, but the pilgrims were never stopped, because of the significant revenue they brought to local governments even at the end of the first millennium. When the apparently uninitiated Crusaders took over the Orthodox clergy in charge of the fire, it failed to appear, increasing the skepticism among Western Christians. But feeling the lack of pilgrim revenues, Baldwin I of Jerusalem reinstated the Orthodox priests in charge, and the fire, as well as the stream of revenues, returned.

The Ottoman traveller, Evliya Celebi, claimed that a hidden zinc jar of naphtha was dripped down a chain by a hidden monk.[13]

Edward Gibbon wrote scathingly about the alleged phenomenon in the concluding volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

This pious fraud, first devised in the ninth century, was devoutly cherished by the Latin crusaders, and is annually repeated by the clergy of the Greek, Armenian, and Coptic sects, who impose on the credulous spectators for their own benefit and that of their tyrants.[14]

Some Greeks have been critical of the Holy Fire, such as Adamantios Korais who condemned what he considered to be religious fraud in his treatise "On the Holy Light of Jerusalem." He referred to the event as "machinations of fraudulent priests" and to the "unholy" light of Jerusalem as "a profiteers' miracle".

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 chemical reactions of this nature were 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 Geographica16.1.15.1-24) 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.[15]

Russian skeptic Igor Dobrokhotov has analysed the evidence for an alleged miracle at length at his website, including the ancient sources[16] and contemporary photos and videos.[17] He has also reproduced fire-bathing and has uncovered contradictions in the story of the "column split by lightning."

Dobrokhotov and other critics, including Russian Orthodox researcher Nikolay Uspensky,[18] Dr. Aleksandr Musin of Sorbonne, and some Old Believers quote excerpts from the diaries of Bishop Porphyrius (Uspensky) (1804-1885)[19] which told that the clergy in Jerusalem knew that the Holy Fire was fraudulent.

Porphyrius was a Russian Orthodox archimandrite who was sent on the official Church-related research mission to Jerusalem and other places (Egypt, Mount Athos). While in Jerusalem, he founded the Russian Mission there. Later, after his return to the Russian Empire, he was made a bishop in the diocese of Kiev.

Homework: please paste your answers to each of the questions in a blank sheet. Then read them and make your own objective conclusion.

Blessings in the Eucharistic Heart of the Holy Family of the Holy Trinity,

Prof. F. Nazar