Passing on the Light

‘Passing on the Light’ is a ceremony that participants in the EAPPI program (Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel) partake in when one team of Ecumenical Accompaniers hands over to the next team.

It is a symbolic affirmation of the role the outgoing team played in the Holy Land and the hope they carry with them to their countries of origin. By receiving the light the new team agrees to walk in the light with the people of Palestine and Israel, offering kindness, hope, patience and love.

These type of events often occur in the West Bank. Stories of daily discrimination, abuse, segregation, and humiliation were also echoed by a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem as she shared an encounter at a checkpoint via a video recording.

International pilgrim tourists flock to the old city of Jerusalem at this time of year to participate in the Palm Sunday procession, follow the stations of the cross and to share in the passing of the Holy Fire on Easter Saturday. At 2pm on Holy Fire (Easter) Saturday, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch emerges from an enclosed area into the Holy Sepulchre Church with a small fire, with which he lights waiting worshippers’ bundles of tapers. The fire is passed from one to another until the Holy Sepulchre Church is filled with light. People wait outside with their tapers and gradually the streets of the Old City become a river of light.

Read the essay by Nell Potter in Sight magazine.