The Bethlehem Peace Light' 2009-2010
Âèôëååìñêèé Îãîíü 2009-2010
The Russian Union of Scouts,
The Bethlehem Light of Peace and Friendship in Russia
The first ever Peace Light from Bethlehem was organised in 1986 by the Austrian TV channel ORF as a part of their wide scaled charity program “Light into Darkness” (Licht ins Dunkel), with the aim of supporting unfortunate invalid children. Thousands of people carried lit candles and lamps through the streets, as a symbol of peace, friendship and unity. This original Light of Peace and Friendship, was lit by an Austrian boy from the flames of a light burning in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Twenty years ago in 1989 the Light arrived in Eastern Europe to appear on the ruins of the fallen Berlin Wall.
In 1989 the Austrian Scouts joined in with the event for the first time and the “Peace Light from Bethlehem” took on its present day format. Every November, a young Austrian girl or boy is chosen for the honour of bringing a part of this symbolic flame, in an oil lamp from Bethlehem to Austria, in recognition of their outstanding service in helping their fellow countrymen and women. Various representatives of many scouting organizations gather in Vienna to collect it and then pass it on to neighbouring countries and other continents, so as to continue the traddtions and ethos of the Worldwide Brotherhood of Scouting serving peace and good-will.
Before Christmas, Scouts deliver the Peace Light to the European Parliament in Strasburg. In 1989 and 2000, Pope John-Paul II received the Light from Scouts in Rome. The first time that the Christmas Light arrived in Russia was in 1996.
For several years now, as the Light arrives in Moscow, a special thanksgiving service is celebrated in the Patriarchal Krutitski Monastery. It is here that Russian Scouts gather together ready to take on the challenge of continuing this massive relay, through which the Light will resume its journey by branching out to different corners of the country. The Scouts will strive to set the Light down in as many towns, churches and establishments not only for Orthodox Christmas on 7th January, but also for western style Christmas on 25th December.
Bethelehem Light 2009-2010 action supported by "Podravka-Vegeta, Russia"