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Zsolt (EDT) Hunyadi, Jozsef (EDT) Laszlovszky, The Crusades and the Military Orders...

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The second sub-type is marked by convergence at the same service, with the service officiated by members of one religion, and members of another religion being allowed access - in other words, an inegalitarian convergence at a religious ceremony. This sub-type may be exemplified by the attendance of Muslims at the Miracle of the Easter Fire, which took place - and still takes place - in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday. As is well known, while in churches throughout Christendom the New Fire blessed on Holy Saturday is produced by the sinking of flint, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the fire was believed to descend from heaven upon the Tomb of Christ in its midst. While some Muslim authors of pre-crusade times branded the miracle a trick, others regarded it as genuine - Abu l-'Abbas Ahmad (d. 947) and al-Biruni (d. 1048) relate that Muslim officials take an active part in the ceremony, kindle the lamps of the mosque with the fire that appears in the Tomb, and report to their superiors the exact time of the fire's descent which is believed to presage the future. Abu l-'Abbas Ahmad - like a contemporary tenth-century Greek polemicist - recounts that Jerusalem's Muslim governor shuts the Tomb's door before the fire's appearance and, when the fire's white light becomes viable within the Tomb, he unlocks its door enters the Tomb and kindles a candle from the fire. Al-Biruni has Christians and Muslims praying for the fire's coming.3 Thus the descent of the Holy Fire assumes the features of a ceremony shared by Christians and Muslims; it b a Christian service that takes place in Christendom's holiest site, yet Muslims participate in it, albeit in a subordinate role. There is no evidence for such a Muslim role in the years after the caliph al-Hakim in 1009 ordered that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre be destroyed precisely on account of the Holy Fire, which he regarded as a fraud. When Abbot Richard of Saint-Vannes and Bishop Ulrich of Orleans witnessed the fire's descent in the 1020s, the Muslims were menacing or mucking...

Cited: Zsolt (EDT) Hunyadi, Jozsef (EDT) Laszlovszky, The Crusades and the Military Orders: Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Christianity - History - 2002 - 606 p. P. 90.

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