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Fragranced beeswax candles

Fragranced beeswax candles in various sizes and packages made in Russia in monastery near Khursk city.

Candles appeared in all Orthodox churches in the first centuries of our era. Eusebius of Caesaria records that during the paschal vigil such a quantity of candles were lit by the faithful that the night itself became as day. There were wax candles the sizes of which made them look like actual pillars. In answer to the accusations of the schismatic Vigilantius, who berated the Orthodox for lighting candles in their churches during daylight also, St. Jerome (342-420) says "in all Eastern churches candles are lit during the reading of the Gospel not only so as to shed light and dispel the gloom but also to proclaim one's joy."

Over the centuries, the Orthodox candle has burnt gently and humbly and is now, as it was then, imbued with profound meaning, inalienable from our Orthodox divine services and Orthodox piety. Apart from the fact that the small sacrifice, the mite given by each Christian for the candle he lights, benefits the Church in real terms, by lighting a candle, each Christian enters into closer contact with the church and the service, participating in it more actively and invisibly warming his soul by the visible light of the candle. We must understand that man's immortal soul dwells in man's mortal body.

The immortal soul cannot be indifferent to pious deeds committed by the body which is its home. AS the body bows, so does the soul bow with it and grows obedient. We are human; we need to see, to feel, to smell and to hear. And in the church, candles burn with the divine light; the ringing of bells sanctifies the air; incense reminds us of the fragrance of prayers; and from each icon the Saviour Himself, the Mother of God and all the saints mysteriously look at us and we look at Their holy images as two worlds come face to face: the dwellers of the Kingdom of God and we, the sinners.

Pious Orthodox people will preserve throughout the year the candles they light during the readings of the Passion Gospels on Holy Thursday. They make a sign of the cross with these candles over the doors to their homes. They light them during difficult moments of their lives. On Easter night, the candles bor., by the faithful transform their faces into living icons on which plays the light of God's grace ...

But the candle has yet another profound meaning. The burning candle represents the entire life of the faithful, from birth to death. It stands for the inner flame of love for and devotion to God. A Christian should burn like a candle before God, and his whole being should gradually be consumed by this divine flame thus marking the end of his earthly life.