In pictures: Stunning scenes from Orthodox Easter Holy Fire ceremonies

ReutersThe Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony takes place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on Holy Saturday.

Thousands gathered at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem this weekend to mark the Orthodox Christian ceremony of the Holy Fire. Orthodox Christians determine the date of Easter using the Julian calendar, this year it fell the week after the western church celebrated Easter.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is also called the Church of the Resurrection by Orthodox Christians, is believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and his tomb.

ReutersWorshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The ceremony of Holy Fire, which has been celebrated annually for centuries, is described as a 'miracle', as it is believed that a blue flame emanates from the tomb on the day before Easter, as a reminder that Jesus has not forgotten his followers.

Senior Orthodox clergy emerge from the site of the tomb, with lit flames, which are then used to light the bundles of candles held by the many pilgrims who had gather for the ceremony.

ReutersPalestinian Orthodox Christians light candles as they celebrate the arrival of the 'Holy Fire' from Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Pilgrims who couldn't fit inside the church lined the streets of Jerusalem's Old City.The holy fire was also taken to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and then to other Orthodox communities around Israel and the West Bank.

The fire is also transported to Orthodox nations including Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Greece on specially chartered flights.

ReutersBelievers light candles during the Holy Fire ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter service at the Volodymysky Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.

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