The tradition of lighting candles holds great importance in Catholic and Orthodox churches, as well as within communities and families. This practice dates back to ancient times, with roots in the Old Testament, where an oil lamp was kept burning continuously.
The significance of this sacred light is also highlighted in the New Testament, particularly in Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews. It references the initial setup of a sacred space with a lampstand, table, and bread, known as the Holy Place. This custom continues to symbolize spiritual illumination and reverence in these faith traditions.
Even today, Russian Orthodox candles can be seen in many churches. You can buy candles from Candles Fantasy that meet all the highest standards.
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What are Greek Christians taught?
As per the teachings of Greek Orthodox teachings, candles are the symbol of God’s light. Referencing John 8:12, where Jesus declares Himself as the world’s light, Orthodox Christians understand that without Him, darkness prevails.
Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is seen as salvation from sins. Candles embody this spiritual concept, reminding believers of Christ’s illuminating presence and role in dispelling darkness.
The following are 12 symbolisms that lighting candles in Church signifies. The first six are from Saint Symeon of Thessalonica, and the next six are from Nicodemus the Athonite.
Saint Symeon offered the following explanations:
- Because the candle is produced entirely of beeswax, it represents the purity of the soul.
- The candle represents how easily our soul can be imprinted (with good or negative) since we can carve anything into a candle.
- Since wax is derived from fragrant, in-bloom flowers, candles represent God’s grace.
- Theosis (our nature is transformed into a flame that consumes sin and provides light) works similarly to how a candle fuels its flame.
- The candle represents Christ’s light, which shines in the dark.
- The light and calm that the candle represents each Christian needs. As the candle burns, it will illuminate and comfort humanity by enlightening during the night.
Nicodemus of Mount Athos also gives us the following six explanations:
- We light candles for the glory of God, who is the only genuine light that illuminates everyone.
- To calm our fear of the dark, we burn candles to disperse the nighttime gloom.
- We light candles to demonstrate the happiness we feel.
- Like how early Christians lit candles at the martyrs’ graves, we light candles to honor saints and martyrs of our faith.
- As instructed by the Lord, “Let your light shine before human beings so that they can see your good deeds and worship the lord in heaven,” we light candles to represent our good deeds.
- We burn candles to atone for the sins of those who light the candles and those they are lighted for. Because of this, many churches have separate candle stands for the living and those for the deceased.
In conclusion, lighting candles in Orthodox churches symbolizes reverence, Christ’s light, prayers, and a connection to tradition—a profound spiritual act.