Thousands of Christians Travel to Jerusalem to Celebrate Pentecost 2015: 'It's Most Wonderful Time Of Year'

( [email protected] ) May 21, 2015 06:07 PM EDT
Christians in Jerusalem
Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. REUTERS

As the Pentecost approaches, thousands of Christians have traveled to Jerusalem for a mega-event at the Jerusalem Pais Arena in Israel for what many are calling the largest Pentecost celebration in history.

Christians will observe the Feast of Weeks, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other believers following Christ's ascension to heaven, now known as the Pentecost. The day has also been described by Christians as "the birth the Church."

Similarly, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which is held 50 days after the Exodus Passover, celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments, which were provided by God in the Old Testament as a means of inspiring and directing the Hebrew people. Because of the holiday's similarities, they are held the same weekend, the Jerusalem Post notes.

This year, the largest Pentecost event is held in the 11,600 seat Jerusalem Pais arena, a five-day Global Congress sponsored by the evangelical organization Empowered21. According to the organization, the historic gathering began Wednesday night with a grand opening celebration in Jerusalem in front of almost 4,000 attendees from more than 70 nations, and will conclude on Monday, May 25.

"This was an amazing night as we saw the world enter into the Jerusalem Pais Arena! You can sense that the attendees are passionate about seeking a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I believe we will see great works of God this week," said Empowered21 President and Global Co-Chair William M. Wilson in a statement. "This is a pivotal moment in history for the global Spirit-empowered movement. The Impartation service, which will pass the mantel of the global Spirit-empowered movement on to the next generation, is of particular significance. Our prayer is that this service will be a catalyst, igniting the hearts and minds of young people from around the globe with the fire of God's love and power."

Organizers of the event are also hoping that the push to celebrate Pentecost in the land of the first Pentecost will inspire a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

"The Global Congress will be a powerful time of worship and ministry for Spirit-empowered Christians from every continent," noted Empowered21 global co-chair George O. Wood. "We anticipate many changed lives as thousands of Spirit-empowered Christians gather together to seek God and bless the Holy Land."

Meanwhile, smaller events will be held throughout the city, including an event being held at the Tomb of David in Jerusalem, which will host both Catholics and Jews this Sunday to celebrate the Pentecost and Shavuot, respectively.

Canon Andrew White, also known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," will also preach in Jerusalem over the weekend to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy spirit and the giving of the Old Testament law.

"It is the most wonderful time of the year," White wrote on his Facebook page.