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Author Topic: What are vigil lamps used for?  (Read 388 times) Average Rating: 0
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Faith: Inquirer to Orthodoxy
Posts: 83

O Holy Saint Grand Duchess Elizabeth, pray for us!

« on: March 17, 2011, 03:46:06 AM »

Hi, I'm not really sure where to put this topic, so I'll just post this here.

I've been looking online at vigil lamps, and I was wondering what they are used for? I know you can hang them, or there are some that stand. But do you pour oil in it, or put a votive candle inside, what?

Psalm 57:2 "I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me."
Psalm 62:1 "Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation."
Psalm 59:9 "I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense."
John 11:35 "Jesus wept."
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Faith: Eastern Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 3,147

« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 08:18:48 AM »

The lamps are typically hung on the arch of an Icon Screen (or over the top of the first tier of icons), directly over each of the major icons on the first tier, i.e. Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, the patronal saint or feast of the parish, St. John the Forerunner, and the Archangels.  They may be hung similarly over any icon in the church, including the Icon Veneration Stands in the narthex.  Traditionally they are fueled by oil, but can be lit with candles.  They are a part of the illumination of the church, electric lights being an innovation of the 20th century. They can also be used for your personal altar or any situation where a candle would be lit for an extended period of time, a symbol that Christ is the "Light of the World" (or as we are hearing in the Presanctified Liturgy during these days, "The Light of Christ Illuminates all,"),  and that the smoke takes our silent prayers to heaven.

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