Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reasons to be Skeptical of the Holy Fire

Objections in defense of authenticity of Ἃγιον Φῶς (esp. to #2, 5, 6, 7) and responses coming soon; I am quite busy this summer.

1. The Franscican friars who look after many holy places have always regarded the Holy Fire as fraudulent.{1}
2. Pope Gregory IX denounced the Holy Fire as a fraud.{2}
3. Fire-bathing of the hair, face, hands, etc. is reproducible.{3}
4. The photographs are reproducible and are the result of fast camera movement and other mundane phenomena.{4}
5. Even though the Patriarch is searched for fire-starting devices, those who accompany him can still sneak matches, etc.{5}
6. White phosphorus and several other chemicals can spontaneously ignite after a while.{6}
7. The Holy Fire was not originally a flame but simply a Holy Light, and the legend has changed in other major ways over the centuries.{7}
8. The Holy Fire was denounced as a fraud by Adamantios Korais.{8}
9. The Holy Fire was denounced as a fraud by Bishop Porphyrius Uspensky.{9}
10. A bunch of knowledgeable Muslim writers exposed the method by which the Holy Fire is triggered.{10}
11. Videos betray that the fire is actually hot from the beginning.{11}
12. The nature of the alleged miracle has fundamentally changed and evolved over the centuries.{12}

Notes and References
{1} Personal correspondence with Jim Likoudis.
{4} a.


1 comment:

Athair Ambrois said...

A reason not to be sceptical.

Let us be believing and not unbelieving. Let us not become like the "bestial and senseless" men, as Pope Urban II decribes them -those unbelievers who scoff at the Holy Fire and who say it is a fraud on the part of the Patriarch (he uses matches or a lighter.)

Here is what Pope Urban said of the Holy Fire in 1096 when he was urging Western Christendom to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims:

"Of holy Jerusalem, brethren, we dare not speak, for we are exceedingly afraid and ashamed to speak of it. This very city, in which, as you all know, Christ Himself suffered for us, because our sins demanded it, has been reduced to the pollution of paganism and, I say it to our disgrace, withdrawn from the service of God. Such is the heap of reproach upon us who have so much deserved it! Who now serves the church of the Blessed Mary in the valley of Josaphat, in which church she herself was buried in body? But why do we pass over the Temple of Solomon, nay of the Lord, in which the barbarous nations placed their idols contrary to law, human and divine? Of the Lord's Sepulchre we have refrained from speaking, since some of you with your own eyes have seen to what abominations it has been given over. The Turks violently took from it the offerings which you brought there for alms in such vast amounts, and, in addition, they scoffed much and often 'at Your religion. And yet in that place (I say only what you already know) rested the Lord; there He died for us; there He was buried. How precious would be the longed for, incomparable place of the Lord's burial, even if God failed there to perform the yearly miracle! For in the days of His Passion all the lights in the Sepulchre and round about in the church, which have been extinguished, are relighted by divine command. Whose heart is so stony, brethren, that it is not touched by so great a miracle? Believe me, that man is bestial and senseless whose heart such divinely manifest grace does not move to faith!

Here is a web page on the Holy Fire, with accounts from the Pope and from church authorities and pilgrims through the centuries.