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Holy Fire arrives in Athens

Greeks prepare for Easter celebrations

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The Holy Fire is brought to Athens from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by a special flight just a few hours before Orthodox Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus

A Greek faithful lights a candle from a Greek Orthodox priest during last year's Orthodox Christian Easter service (Reuters) A Greek faithful lights a candle from a Greek Orthodox priest during last year's Orthodox Christian Easter service (Reuters) The Holy Fire arrived in Athens on Saturday evening, just hours before Orthodox Christians gather in churches all around the country to sing “Christos Anesti” (“Christ has risen” in English) in celebration of the Orthodox Easter.

Orthodox tradition holds that the Holy Fire is a miracle that happens every year on the night before Easter Sunday. It is believed that the fire emanates from the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – known to Orthodox Christians as the Church of Resurrection - in Jerusalem.

The fire is then brought to a number of Orthodox countries, including Greece, by a special flight and is received with honours similar to those extended to a head of state.

Numerous Greeks, including the country's political leaders, celebrate the Easter weekend in their hometowns, following a number of traditions like egg tapping, firecrackers and lamb on the spit, to name a few.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is spending the weekend in Pylos, Peloponnese, while President Karolos Papoulias will be in Ioannina, Ipeiros, throughout the holy week.

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos is visiting Thessaloniki, while Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis is staying in Athens.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has left hometown Athens to spend the holiday on the island of Crete.

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