On Holy Saturday at 6PM, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Katsaniotis is expected to arrive at the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens Airport with the Holy Fire from Israel.
“The Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Andreas Katsaniotis, will go to Jerusalem on the afternoon of Good Friday, April 22, to attend the Lighting of the Holy Fire Ceremony that will take place on Holy Saturday, April 23, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” a foreign ministry announcement said.
“The Undersecretary will receive the Holy Fire from His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Mr. Theophilos III and will have a meeting with him.
“The arrival of the Holy Fire at the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens Airport is expected to take place at around 18:00 on the afternoon of Holy Saturday and, subsequently, its distribution throughout the Greek territory is planned.”
Katsaniotis stated in this regard that “I will have the honour to attend the ceremony of Lighting of the Holy Light and to carry it home with the resurrection message.”
“Especially in these days, due to the situation in the martyred Ukraine, where a historical part of Hellenism lives, the message about the importance of life and peace remains extremely relevant.”
Apart from the Deputy Foreign Minister, the mission will include, among others, the Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher in Greece, Archimandrite Raphael, MPs Maximos Harakopoulos, Stavros Keletsis and Ioannis Sarakiotis, the Regional Governor of Western Greece Nektarios Farmakis and others.
The transport to and from Israel will be made with a special Aegean Airlines flight at no cost to the Greek State, while the distribution of the Holy Fire in Greece will be done by Aegean Airlines and SKY Express.
According to Proto Thema, the reception of its arrival will be done with the proper prices and the process will be quite similar to the pre-pandemic ceremonies.
There will be an honorary procession of the army and a red carpet, while the delegation of the Holy Synod that will receive it will consist of the Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki Nikolaos and the Bishop of Roga Philotheos.
The only essential difference is that the Greek delegation will leave for Tel Aviv and from there to Jerusalem on Good Friday and not on Holy Saturday as usual.
The difference is due to the health measures of Israel that oblige the members of the Greek delegation to undergo a PCR test upon arrival and to remain in a quarantine hotel for seven hours.
Taking into account the flight times, etc., it was deemed necessary to leave on the night of Good Friday.
READ MORE: Easter in Greece.