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Candles in Orthodox churches


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I am working on a piece for a memoir class I attend and needed the term for the stand where candles are placed by people after they light them. I have not found that term but did find explanations as to how they are viewed by the Orthodox and by the Roman Catholics. I like the Orthodox view as it is a positive view where as, at least to me, the Roman Catholic view is a darker view.

I was not sure which thread this best fit, so I put it here. 

 

The candle in the Orthodox Christian context is a symbol of a worshiper offering oneself to God. It is also a symbol that represents the Light of God or, more specifically, the Light of Christ. The candles may be made of traditional beeswax or cups of oil with floating wicks. Non-beeswax candles are frowned upon.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Candle

In Roman Catholic churches:

The candle symbolizes light in the darkness of life especially individual life, illumination; it is the symbol of holy illumination of the spirit of truth. Lit in times of death, they signify the light in the next world, and they represent Christ as the light. Purification and cleansing closely related.

https://www.google.com/search?q=lighted+candles+in+catholic+churches&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS792US792&oq=lighted+candles+in+catholic+churches+&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i22i30i457j0i22i30l5.9575j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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Both of these church light candles in front of icons, making them a prayer/offering to the icon (which then makes it a kind of idol). I like a candle-light service as much as the next person, but candles are a form of light - nothing more. 

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4 hours ago, Salyan said:

Both of these church light candles in front of icons, making them a prayer/offering to the icon (which then makes it a kind of idol). I like a candle-light service as much as the next person, but candles are a form of light - nothing more. 

I agree as would all the Orthodox Christians I know. I am not sure that is true of all the Roman Catholics I know. I do like the Orthodox idea concerning the light of the candle as symbolizing a worshiper offering themselves to God and also symbolizing the light of Christ. 

Edited by Bouncing Bill
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They may not understand the significance of candle-lighting for the dead, or in front of icons - it dates from pagan times. But that significance is still there. I consider the candle-lighting in Orthodox/Catholic Churches to be idolatry.

And you do realize that Orthodox doctrine is heretical to the point that people who truly believe it are not saved, and thus not Christians? There may be some present in those 'churches' who have been saved despite that, but they should be coming out as per Scriptural directive.

 

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6 hours ago, Salyan said:

They may not understand the significance of candle-lighting for the dead, or in front of icons - it dates from pagan times. But that significance is still there. I consider the candle-lighting in Orthodox/Catholic Churches to be idolatry.

And you do realize that Orthodox doctrine is heretical to the point that people who truly believe it are not saved, and thus not Christians? There may be some present in those 'churches' who have been saved despite that, but they should be coming out as per Scriptural directive.

 

Is the lighting of a candle 'for the dead' to remember them or does it, to you, have another meaning. I see nothing wrong in lighting a candle in remembrance of a loved one ... the light of their life in my life. I would not be here nor believe in Christ if it were not for those lights in my life. This has nothing to do with their salvation. It has to do with my thankfulness for them.  

 

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It may be beneficial to ask one question; where do we see "lighting a candle for the dead" anywhere in God's Holy Word?

I was raised in a Catholic setting, not that my parents were practicing Catholics, but my grandmother was and my parents just followed along with Catholic practices. You see, according to Catholicism, once you are "Christened", which is for Catholics, synonymous with Baptism, you are then Catholic and remain a Catholic for life; in that the record of your being Christened remains forever.  So, this fact made my parents Catholic because their parents had them Christened when they were babies.

Now, back to lighting a candle, I gave my brief history so that folks would understand that I have some  history with Catholicism. It was my understanding at an early age, and explained to me by my grandmother as well as a priest and the Nuns that taught Catechism in Catholic School, that the lighting of a candle needed to me accompanied by a monetary offering. The explanation went on the say that lighting a candle for the dead was not simply an act of worship, it had nothing to do with worship, but instead, everything to do with paying a monetary fee to the church to pay the dead person's way out of Purgatory. This, as well as other Roman Catholic dogma was explained thoroughly in their Catechism that every child had to study when preparing for their "First Communion", which by the way, is mandatory for every child that has been Christened.

I have no idea if this is still taught today, but this is what I was brought up to believe as a part of being a Catholic

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1 hour ago, Jim_Alaska said:

It may be beneficial to ask one question; where do we see "lighting a candle for the dead" anywhere in God's Holy Word?

I was raised in a Catholic setting, not that my parents were practicing Catholics, but my grandmother was and my parents just followed along with Catholic practices. You see, according to Catholicism, once you are "Christened", which is for Catholics, synonymous with Baptism, you are then Catholic and remain a Catholic for life; in that the record of your being Christened remains forever.  So, this fact made my parents Catholic because their parents had them Christened when they were babies.

Now, back to lighting a candle, I gave my brief history so that folks would understand that I have some  history with Catholicism. It was my understanding at an early age, and explained to me by my grandmother as well as a priest and the Nuns that taught Catechism in Catholic School, that the lighting of a candle needed to me accompanied by a monetary offering. The explanation went on the say that lighting a candle for the dead was not simply an act of worship, it had nothing to do with worship, but instead, everything to do with paying a monetary fee to the church to pay the dead person's way out of Purgatory. This, as well as other Roman Catholic dogma was explained thoroughly in their Catechism that every child had to study when preparing for their "First Communion", which by the way, is mandatory for every child that has been Christened.

I have no idea if this is still taught today, but this is what I was brought up to believe as a part of being a Catholic

Thanks for the reply. I believe you show how different the Catholic idea is as contrasted with the Orthodox view of lighting a candle. I do not believe the Roman Catholics believe the candle should be beeswax as the nice smell of beeswax burning is not present in Catholic Churches. Also, some now use electric candles. You drop money in a slow and an electronic candle comes on for a period of time. I seriously doubt that Orthodox churches or members would accept this. I told a priest one time that "I am not Catholic, but those electric candles offend me." He simply smiled. 

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I can see the argument about nothing being wrong with lighting a candle in memory of someone but to me personally it seems superstitious. Also, these things always seem to end up replacing truth faith and righteous works. I imagine the first confessional booth was just to help a believer confess his faults to another but eventually was turned into the ungodly mess it is today.

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Although it has nothing todo with candles, there is one last thing I wanted to say about Christening, Confirmation and First Communion. These three things are the reason that The Roman Catholic Church can claim to be the largest religious organization in the world. They greatly benefit from Christening babies because that act puts the baby on the church membership roll, that baby goes on to study their Catechism, in preparation for their "Confirmation and finally their First Communion.

So even if the person never goes though all the steps and never even attends church service again, they are considered by the church as a valid member. You can just imagine how many numbers of people you could claim throughout history using this method.

It has been my experience that when asked what religion they are, they will say "Catholic", even of they are not active at all. Many "once a year" Catholics consider that they have done their duty if they only attend the Christmas Midnight Mass.

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