I have found a delightful blog by a Roman Catholic priest: “Reverend Know-It-All.” Father Richard Simon pastor of Saint Lambert’s in Skokie, Illinois runs an informative and humorous site that deals with matters of the faith. See, for instance, Reverend Know-It-All’s “What is with this “Holy Fire” nonsense?,” “Reflection on Mass celebrated Ad Orientem,” and “An aside about Creeds.”
From “What is with this “Holy Fire” nonsense?”:
Dear Rev. Know it all,
We heard some loon on the radio going on and on about something called the “Holy Fire” at the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem) I had to google it to try and find more information on it. Absurd! What nonsense. Thank goodness not too many Catholic websites will acknowledge this phenomenon… could you comment? Is this a Greek Orthodox tradition? Beware of Greeks lighting fires. Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?
Mr. &Mrs. Phil & Sophie Majors,
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Dear Mr. & Mrs. Majors,
For those less aware than you, let me explain the Holy Fire. Every Easter, that is Easter according to the Greek Orthodox calendar, the Greeks claim that fire spontaneously lights the candles held by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem as he prays alone in the tomb of Christ. That sort of thing seems a bit much to swallow. After all, we are living in scientific times and know that such displays of the supernatural are nonsense. (It is interesting that the comment “Nonsense!” (leiros) does appear once in the New Testament. It is the reaction of the disciples to the women’s tale of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning.) The interesting thing is that if it is a fraud, it goes back at least 1,625 years. . . .