There is such a “folk remedy” - to put a candle in the church
If you hold a simple statistics, then probably ninety percent of people come to the temple for this: put a candle. We often do not think about the spiritual meaning of such an action. Someone said, advised, saw somewhere ... It becomes a kind of ritual, "folk remedy" from all ills. But the number of believers, however, for some reason does not increase, and only a few remain on the services.
Why do you need it?
When we come to the temple, it is important to remember that there is nothing accidental in the church. All actions and accessories here have their symbolic meaning, they are a visible expression of something invisible. This also applies to candles.
Prelate Nikolay Serbsky called the whole seven figurative meanings of a church candle. But all of them can be reduced to two main things: the symbol of prayer and our sacrifice to God. Why is this little invention of man best personified prayer?
First, the flame of the candle is directed upwards, where our spiritual feelings should also be directed. Secondly, it is a light reminiscent of the light of Christ, which enlightens our souls. Thirdly, the heat comes from the candle, which must also come from our hearts during prayer.
If we have no internal burning and feelings for God, then there is no prayer either. Accordingly, there is no need to put a candle either. Such mechanical actions lead nowhere; they become simple, meaningless “ritual”. And such self-therapy does not cure anything.
As for the sacrifice to God, it should also be understood correctly. It must be remembered that the Lord does not need our offerings. He is self-sufficient, everyone in the church and so belong to Him. But condescending to our feeble, damaged nature, in need of some visible and understandable actions, He gave us the opportunity to give something to ourselves.
By making a donation to the temple in the form of any purchase, we thus sacrifice to God Himself. Just do not give it the value of a profitable business deal. The church is not a supermarket, where everyone buys what they need.We must remember that the Lord always gives us more than we do to Him. Although often we ourselves do not notice.
How did tradition come about?
Where did the tradition of lighting church candles from prayer come from? Let's say right away that she came to us from Greece together with the Orthodox faith. However, this tradition arose in ancient times, even in Old Testament times.
In the book of Exodus, we read that the Lord himself commanded Moses to make a golden lamp with seven lamps and light it. In the temple of Jerusalem such a lamp burned all night. The lamp in the temple in New Testament times also began to endure before the reading of the Gospel as a sign that the light of the Gospel enlightens everyone.
We know that in the apostolic and early Christian times, when there was persecution, services were held mainly at night and in the catacombs. It was simply impossible to get along without lighting fixtures. However, the Church historian Tertullian wrote not so much about the practical, as about the spiritual significance of lamps:We never perform a church service without lamps, but we use them not only to disperse the darkness of the night — the liturgy is celebrated here in daylight; but in order to depict Christ through this - uncreated light, without which we would have wandered in darkness even in the middle of the afternoon
With the cessation of persecution, tradition, fortunately, has not disappeared anywhere. From the temples she also moved to the houses of believers and has been preserved to this day.
Where to put?
The first and most popular question of people who first came to the temple: where to put the candle? There are no rigid regulated rules, but there is a certain hierarchy that will be more correct to follow. If you decide to put a few candles, you can follow this procedure:
- A “holiday” (on the central lectern) or honored temple icon;
- before the relics (if any);
- about health;
- about repose.
On the rest we put on a special candlestick - eve. It is usually square or rectangular in shape and crucified. All other candlesticks are round; we put candles on them on health.
If you want to put a candle to a particular saint or in front of a certain way, but there is no such icon in the temple, do not be upset. Be sure that the saints hear us everywhere. You can leave your sacrifice before any image and pray to the saint you want.
There are also some simple unwritten rules that should also be followed,so that your good intention will truly benefit you and those around you:
- You need to buy candles in the temple where you came. Only then will it be a favorable sacrifice to God. In addition, you will be sure that they are sanctified.
- To come to the service for this you need to advance, before it starts. Candles should also be put in front of the service, so as not to distract themselves and others. If you are still late and decided that you cannot do without a church candle in prayer, then you need to know that there are particularly important moments of the service, when you should not do this at all. For example, while reading the Gospel, singing the Cherubim, the whole Eucharistic canon (from singing “I Believe ...” to “Our Father”).
- In case the temple is crowded with people and you simply cannot walk to the candlestick, quietly and carefully ask the people in front to pass the candle where you want to put it.
- If you see that there are no free cells on the candlestick, silently place your offering on it or give it to the nearby temple worker - it will be lit when the place is free.
- It is necessary to light only from the nearby candle, and not from the lamp, since wax can get there.If this candlestick does not burn anything, then you can light a candle from any other (but not with matches or a cigarette lighter).
- At the candle, the wick is first lit, then the lower end is set on fire and set. It is not necessary to drip the specially melted wax into the cell, as this will complicate the cleaning of the candlestick.
- Standing with candles near the candlestick is not recommended. By this you will disturb others and also wax the floor. However, there are certain services when it can and should be done. For example, during the funeral. At the same time, it is also important to keep order in order to avoid a fire.
- You need to put one candle in one cell and so that it would be convenient for others to put after you. It is impossible to rearrange or extinguish other people's candles, it can only be done by people working in the temple.
- Having prayed before the icon, you should move away from the candlestick, giving the opportunity to others to put a candle. You should not watch out for when it is removed, whether it is rearranged, and how it will burn - do not engage in magic and paganism. You made your sacrifice - the Lord accepted it. Everything else can be a sign of your lack of faith.
- Finally, do not make the candlestick a subject of worship. At the service, one should not stand sideways or with his back to the altar, but should face, dedicating all his heart and attention to God.
Candles are different
Candles in the temple differ not only in their size, but also in the material. In composition, they are usually of two types: paraffin and wax. The question immediately arises: which is better to buy? For the price, of course, it is more profitable to take paraffin. But it should be said that this is their only advantage.
God chooses to sacrifice all the purest and best. Wax, as a natural material taken from nature, is best suited for this purpose. Therefore, wax candles entered the church life since ancient times.Wax, as the purest substance, means our purity and sincerity of the offering.- wrote Archbishop Simeon of Thessalonica.
Products made of paraffin during combustion also pollute the air a little. As you can see, church candles made of wax are also better in a practical sense. They are harmless, burn longer and more beautifully, do not “flow”. Therefore, it is better to buy one wax instead of several paraffin waxes, if there is such an opportunity.
Summing up, I would like to say that one does not need to exaggerate the “power of candles”, thereby turning the pious tradition into magical acts. Do not believe anyone who says that their number is important, their “behavior” when burning, certain words “prayers” or other superstitious nonsense. All this has nothing to do with faith.Moreover, it is contrary to God.
If you did not have money for such a donation or you do not understand its meaning, then this is no reason to go past the temple. The Lord requires one from us:Child, give me your heart!(Prov. 23, 26). Everything else is auxiliary things. Here is what righteous John of Kronstadt said:Putting candles in front of icons is good. But it is better if you offer the fire of love for Him and for your neighbor to God. Well, if together is both that, and another. But if you put candles, but you have no love for God and your neighbor in your heart: you are stingy, you do not live in peace, then your sacrifice to God is in vain
The whole truth about why in the church you need to make a donation, says priest Vladimir Golovin: