On Friday 23 September, Sabeel and a coalition of Christian organizations and activists organized a day of pilgrimage in the Old City of Jerusalem. The first part of the pilgrimage was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a holy place for Christians. Over 450 people started the day by visiting the church, lighting candles, and singing hymns. The participants met with the local community. We ended the day with a time of fellowship in the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, where we lit candles. At the Armenian Quarter, the community lit a bonfire, which is the tradition of the Holy Fire ceremony. People came from different cities and villages and 12 parishes from throughout the Holy Land to participate in the pilgrimage.
The Feast of the Cross celebrates the finding of Jesus’ cross by Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. When the cross was found, fire signals were lit from Jerusalem to Constantinople, this is why we celebrate the feast day by starting a bonfire. The feast is also a celebration of the power of the cross that overcomes sin and suffering.