Author Topic: Is your Holy Light still going?  (Read 5505 times)

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Offline ozgeorge

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Is your Holy Light still going?
« on: April 15, 2007, 01:30:36 AM »
For those of us who come from traditions where we bring the Holy Light home after the Paschal Liturgy (or if we're really tired, aftre the start of the Paschal Matins!), I was wondering if anyone still had their Holy Light going. This is the first year my Holy Light has made it through Bright Week. It involves having a candle stick near the vigil lamp to transfer the flame while the lamp is refilled and trimmed.
I have a Aunt who is able to keep her vigil lamp going all year long this way, and she would only extinguish it on Holy Saturday. Apparently, this was my Pontian grandmother's custom who, even during the Nazi Occupation traded ouzo for olive oil to keep the family vigil lamp going. I think that in times of distress and dire need, when our resources are stretched to the limit is precisely the time we need a reminder that God is with us, and that we were created for better things, so I can understand the need to keep a vigil lamp going even when times are tough. It reminds me of that beautiful poem by Shirazi:
"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2007, 01:50:23 AM »
Besides actual churches, your Aunt is probably the only one.  I brought home my candle from Pascha night, but unlit and I don't have an oil lamp.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 01:53:06 AM »
For those of us who come from traditions where we bring the Holy Light home after the Paschal Liturgy (or if we're really tired, aftre the start of the Paschal Matins!), I was wondering if anyone still had their Holy Light going. This is the first year my Holy Light has made it through Bright Week. It involves having a candle stick near the vigil lamp to transfer the flame while the lamp is refilled and trimmed.
I have a Aunt who is able to keep her vigil lamp going all year long this way, and she would only extinguish it on Holy Saturday. Apparently, this was my Pontian grandmother's custom who, even during the Nazi Occupation traded ouzo for olive oil to keep the family vigil lamp going. I think that in times of distress and dire need, when our resources are stretched to the limit is precisely the time we need a reminder that God is with us, and that we were created for better things, so I can understand the need to keep a vigil lamp going even when times are tough. It reminds me of that beautiful poem by Shirazi:
"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."
O me of little faith...   :-[  I'm always afraid that my house will burn down if I leave a candle flame unattended.  :o  However, this tradition of which you speak is something I've never known in my experience.
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Offline authio

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 03:23:41 AM »
This is so beautiful!  But tell me, olive oil?  From whom may i learn more?
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 03:52:19 AM »
This is so beautiful!  But tell me, olive oil?  From whom may i learn more?

Your priest?  Do you not have a single olive oil lamp in your church?

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 04:11:41 AM »
But tell me, olive oil?  From whom may i learn more?
I mean an olive oil lamp. In Greek practice, it's a glass or glazed ceramic cup. In the bottom you put a little water then you fill the rest with Olive Oil. You then place a short wax coated wick through a thin, cork float which floats on the oil, then light the wick. It is kept lit in front of the icon(s).

btw, the water in the bottom of the glass or cup prevents the cork float from burning if the lamp runs out of oil (in case you were wondering why we did that!)

Here is a "Vigil Lamp Starter Kit" available from Archangelsbooks.com.

The little box on the left contains the wax coated wicks, the cork float (with a wick inserted) is in front of the bottle of oil. The vigil cup/glass where it all gets put together is on the right.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 04:34:27 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline The young fogey

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2007, 08:13:11 AM »
What a marvellous custom, saving the holy light! I remember learning about it 25 years ago when I started learning about this rite and church. Got that from a set of National Geographic articles on Byzantium with a photo essay on Easter in a Greek village.

Never tried that - this year I saw somebody married to a Greek take it home in a glass seemingly made for the purpose - but I've got two flowers from the tomb that I put in water and are still going strong one week on in front of the crucifix in my kitchen. (Coincidentally the glass is a blue version of the one in the picture. When I got it I thought about using it as a votive light.)

The Russian way of setting up a lampada (oil lamp in front of icons) is to use a string wick (all-natural fibre like cotton) held in a brass or copper tube held in the glass cup with a wire.

I think the cork float with the replaceable candle-like wicks is the Greek way.

Holy Cross Monastery's scented oil is great!
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2007, 12:49:57 PM »
I couldn't help but laugh as people drove home at 3am balancing a candle between their legs as they steered. But now I know why they do it. Maybe I'll start the tradition when I grow older.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2007, 07:07:40 PM »
I couldn't help but laugh as people drove home at 3am balancing a candle between their legs as they steered. But now I know why they do it. Maybe I'll start the tradition when I grow older.
That actually sounds like a rather dangerous form of distracted driving.
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2007, 07:17:58 PM »
George,

I remember keeping my candle lit when I was a child as we would drive home from church. But we did not have an oil lamp so we could not keep it lit all night. But I do remember we would all keep are candles lit till we got home. The candles we use in my parish are too short for the ride home. We need a tall beeswax candle for the 45 minute commute. ;)

If I remember next year I will bring a candle from and home and bring the light home...I forgot about this tradition. My boys will love it because we have been lighting the candles on table each night before dinner during Bright Week. I also have kept an icon of Christ on the table with flowers so we can savor the Pascha glow all week. Another tradition my brother-in-law shared with us is to sing "Christ is Risen" along with our dinner prayers.

Offline Timos

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2007, 07:55:11 PM »
Its funny because every year on Pascha, amongst ourselves in our family we always fight about the light. We walk out the front doors of the church and my dad desperately hopes that a great wind will knock out the flame...if it doesn't then we enter the car and he starts a schpeel on how dangerous it is. Then my mom agrees with him but retorts that its for God so its worth it. Then IF we get it home, I burn ashes into the top of the front doorway of the house and my dad has a second flip-out because we have to repaint it again. IF we go straight to my aunts or uncles house, some of them love it, and some of them get agitrated and start telling us they dont want us to burn down their house- so this can be a really tricky thing for our family! As for the title, I thought you guys were talking of a spiritual inner light :)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 07:59:55 PM by Timos »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2007, 08:16:07 PM »
Then IF we get it home, I burn ashes into the top of the front doorway of the house and my dad has a second flip-out because we have to repaint it again.
If you burn the lintel of the door to "ashes", I'm not surprised that your Father goes off the rails! You're only supposed to mark a cross on it with soot from the candle! ;)
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Offline Timos

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2007, 12:13:53 AM »
lol thats what I meant- but he still goes bananas!

Offline Elisha

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2007, 12:51:08 AM »
...and he starts a schpeel on how dangerous it is.

You mean a spiel? :)

That's German - A talk or play.  Being of Germanic ancestry (on my dad's side), it cracks me up how German has penetrated English in certain aspects.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2007, 08:35:12 AM »
Simayan,

Try using one of those 7 days candles in glass as your paschal candle, then put the lid cover from a vigil lampada (you know the tin silver ones with the holes cut into it to cover it), thus shielded from wind and draft place it in the cup holder in your car.  It won't spill and I have successfully made it home even after a few glasses of wine at the Feast,remember I have a 50 mile drive home so you can do it.

Thomas
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2007, 11:09:57 AM »
Well, the thing is, people don't bring their own candles to church on Holy Saturday. We get a 14 inch candle that lasts about 7 hours and hold it. I suppose I could bring one of the ones you're talking about and leave it in the car until I get back to it, though.


Thanks for the advice!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 11:10:21 AM by Simayan »
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Offline sdcheung

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2007, 01:08:24 PM »
I Learnt this from a kind Yiayia...
you can blow out the Vigil Candle, since your going into the subway. the candle is blessed. Just light up the candle, at home, blow out the gas flame on the stove, relight the stove with the candle, the gas stove and the fire it produces is now blessed, so you can light the fire from the stove all year long.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2007, 01:08:44 PM by sdcheung »

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2007, 03:32:25 PM »
In our parish, we have to provide our own candles for Pascha  (if we don't want to use the tiny  votive candles  used in the sandboxes) so the glass candle works great there.

Thomas
« Last Edit: May 04, 2007, 03:32:35 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Xenia

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2012, 04:34:18 PM »
I know folks who keep the Holy Light in their hot water heater.  They come home with the lit candle (in an enclosed lantern), blow out the pilot light and relight it with the Holy Light.  I am going to try this myself this year.  I used to live an hour from church but now that our parish is right up the street I am more optimistic that it will actually happen this year.

Not everyone has a gas stove but almost everyone has a gas hot water heater.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 04:35:07 PM by Xenia »

Offline LBK

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2012, 07:12:41 PM »
Quote
Not everyone has a gas stove but almost everyone has a gas hot water heater.

Not true. It depends where you live. Whole neighborhoods where I live cannot get gas at all, so everything they have is electric. And I have a gas stove, but the hot water heater that came with the house is electric.
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Offline Xenia

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2012, 11:29:17 PM »
Quote
but the hot water heater that came with the house is electric.

Well, you learn something new everyday!  ;D

Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2012, 11:01:21 AM »
I don't know of anybody who does this.  I knew one Greek lady who did and was very enthusiastic about it, until all of her spiritual and prayer books, icons, and two rooms of her house were destroyed by fire.  She doesn't do it anymore.

It is one of those elements of popular piety that just doesn't have any appeal for me, I''m afraid.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Is your Holy Light still going?
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2012, 11:55:54 AM »

Mine went out just after Pentecost.  I only had it going in a large 5 day votive which I tried to swap out before it extinguished....and I miscalculated...and when I realized, it was already out.

I put mine in a large hinged door lantern.  The flame is totally enclosed except for the holes at the top to let the heat out.  Plus, it's a HUGE lantern, and there's lots of space inside.

Something like this: 

I wouldn't dare extinguish my furnace pilot light.  I'd probably not be able to relight it.  I think it's got some thermal coupler thingy that you have to hold a button for so long and then light it....and if it doesn't light you hold the button in longer....and if still nothing....you call a repair man!

Can you imagine!!?

Yes, please come...I'm freezing.....no, I don't know why it's not working....well, I did purposefully blow out the pilot light.....  :D


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