I SAW THE HOLY LIGHT BY ARCHIMANDRITE SAVVAS ACHILLEOS
This is a story of the mysterious Holy Light that spontaneously and inexplicably pours forth every Holy Saturday from the Most Holy and Life-Giving Tomb of the Resurrected Savior Christ in Jerusalem. The story is told through many interviews the author had with Monk Mitrofanis who for 57 years served as the diligent guard at the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre.
Many things have been told and have been written about the Holy Light. However, no matter what has been recorded, the Holy Light still remains on enigmatic phenomenon. This mysterious Light spontaneously and inexplicably pours forth every Holy Saturday from the Most Holy and Life-giving Tomb of the Resurrected Savior.
During the spring of 1952 I was able by the grace of God to venerate for the first time the sanctified places of Jerusalem. Most importantly I wanted to be present at the magnificent services of the Holy Passion in order to see the Holy Light.
Since then many years have passed. The Holy Light and the unique service of that special day, always remained in my soul a mystery. No one was able to give me an explanation regarding this Divine Light and to satisfy the unanswered questions which had anchored in my mind.
What is the Holy Light? What is its source?
What happens during the service of every Holy Saturday when the Light is to appear and which at some point its brilliance bursts into a flame?
Who receives this Divine Light and then imparts it to all who are in attendance?
These questions and many more remained without answers for me.
In 1980 during Pascha week, I returned for the fourth time to the Holy Land with a group of faithful Pilgrims. We felt fortunate to visit again the memorable places which made us feel more warmly and intensely the presence of God.
One morning, when there were relatively few pilgrims about, our group met the Holy Man, Fr. Mitrofanis, at the entrance of the Holy Sepulcher. We saw a most amiable spare figure in this Holy Geronta. His ascetic face was aglow. His sweet gentle smile rivaled that of angels. He was of medium height. His pure white hair bore witness to the toil and the asceticism of this pious old monk. True to his duty as a vigilant guard of the Holy Tomb, he served with much fervor, faith, and devotion.
After a few minutes of greeting and making acquaintance, Fr. Mitrofanis described shocking scenes of his troubled life. He recited in detail the hardships and the sufferings he endured in order to reach the Holy Land. With humility he mentioned the honored position which he held as guard of the Holy Sepulcher. He, too, was deeply perplexed with questions, regarding the Holy Light.
As confirmation of this detailed narration he told us how he finally came to witness the spontaneous appearance of the Light, the Mystery of the centuries, the event which every faithful Christian desires in awe to see.
These detailed historic events as told by Fr. Mitrofanis, we made every effort, by the grace of Christ, to present in a book. We make a plea to our devout readers, that through them, may God be merciful to the now deceased Geronta, to the author, and to the translators. However a more fervent plea to the Lord is that His mercy and blessings be bestowed upon the readers of this small volume and to all those who travel to the Holy Land.”
— Archimandrite Savvas Achilleos
Softbound. 128 pages.