The Bethlehem Light of Peace continues its pilgrimage

The Bethlehem Light of Peace is now in Poland

In brief: The Bethlehem Light of Peace is a symbol of peace, concordance and hopefulness and it reunite all christians on Christmas Eve.

The Bethlehem Light of Peace has been brought to Poland. The official ceremony has been held in Presidental Palace in Warsaw where Polish scouts have given the Bethlehem Light of Peace to the espose of the President because of the head of state absence due to illness.

The origin of the tradition is unclear. Ancient roots of it is described by one of the modern participants:

One young boy promissed that he will come back to Venice and bring a flame from the Basilica of Bethlehem. Only few believed him because lots of soldats never came back. In 1099, just before Christmas, a group of starving and scruffy boys entered the town. The first of them was carrying a candle. All of them sweared that the flame is directly from Bethlehem. The boy protected the flame on his journey through the desert, across the ocean, all the way home. This candle was placed in the church so that everyone could light their own lamps and candles and bring it home. This was the First and also the last light of “peace” in medieval.

The moto of scouts’ pilgrimage is “We all are born to serve”. The tradition of the Bethlehem Light of Peace transfer to Poland comes from the year 1991. Polish scouts then give the Bethlehem Light of Peace to the Ukrainians at the customs point as well as to Lithuanians, Belarusians and Russians. The tradition of transferring the Bethlehem Light of Peace to Europe was initiated in 1986 by Austrians in order to support disabled children. They used to take the Light from the place of Christ birth in Bethlehem to bring it to Vienna. After ceremonies at the Vienna’s Cathedral the Light traditionally begins its travelling from hands to hands. The Bethlehem Light of Peace is a symbol of peace, concordance and hopefulness and it reunite all christians on Christmas Eve.

The tradition of Light of Peace can be trekked down as a copy of the transfer of the Holy Fire, it happens near the Orthodox Pascal Hollydays, at the Great Thursday. The flame come out of the Holy Grave and then it is spread by thousands. People pass the light from one to another until the Holy Fire reaches the most distant corners of the world. The Orthodox Church rents a plane specialy to deliver the Fire to the Moscow and Kiev.

According the same source:

  1. In 2000 the tradition “crossed” the ocean and the LIGHT landed in USA;
  2. The “first” candle is light by a child from Austria – that kid is choosen every year.;
  3. In 2000 the political situation didn´t let the kid to go to the Basilica so the light was given to him on the airport in Tel -Aviv.;
  4. In 2001 the light was brought to Austria by kids from Israel.;
  5. In 2005 it was 11 year-old boy who saved a life of 2 year old kid who was drowning in the swiming pool;
  6. In 2007 10 year-old brave girl who saved the life of her mother who had a terrible accident (she didn´t panicked and organised a perfect life-saving action.

At the St.Sofia square the Light is to be handed to the community of Kiev and the leaders of the regional sections of the Plast – National Scout Organization of Ukraine. This event is held in Ukraine for the second time. However, as with any religious material there is complications. Orthodox christians do not celebrate Christmas 24-25 December. The whole event is plagued with a signs of prozelitizm and mainly supported by catholic minority. Thus, the main goal of Light of Peace remains unachived, at least in Eastern Europe.

Maria Velikanova
2009-12-17 23:05, Society.

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