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Candle stands

Candles have played a significant role in Christian worship since the earliest days of the faith, when services could only be held at night for fear of persecution. In addition to their practical usage for lighting during church worship, the light shed by the candle symbolizes the light of Christ, illumining the world, and the hearts of the worshippers burning with love for their God. The candle-stands and candlesticks on which these candles are placed are of many different kinds, each with its own purpose and significance.

Just as the early Christians would light candles at the graves of the martyrs, today floor candle-stands designed to hold many candles are placed in the church at the icons of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and highly-venerated saints. Here, Christians light candles as an offering to the church and to the saint, and as a symbol of their prayer. These candle-stands usually stand several feet off the ground, and may be round or square, with individual candle holders for candles of various thicknesses.

Single-candle candlesticks are commonly employed in homes for private worship. In the church, two altar candle-stands or candelabras are also prescribed to be placed on or near the holy table during the divine services. These latter may be table-top or floor candle stands.

Other candlesticks are carried by those serving during Orthodox worship. Processional candle-holders are carried by acolytes, or altar servers, at various high points of the service, including processions, entries, and the reading of the Gospel. The deacon also carries a processional candle-holder when preceding the priest as he censes. A freestanding floor candle-stand, called the primikirion (or primikiriy in Russian), is also moved about by the servers or the deacon during the services, particularly when a bishop serves.

The dikirion and trikirion (dikiriy and trikiriy in Russian), which hold two and three candles, respectively, are used by the bishop to bless the people during hierarchal services. These candle holders may be very ornate, with enamel, precious stones, and other adornments. Finally, the paschal three-candle holder, or trikirion, symbolizing the Holy Trinity, is used by the priest or bishop to bless the people during the paschal season, and is attached to or held along with a hand cross.

Candlesticks and candle-stands are commonly cast from brass, though they may be made of other metals. Brass candle-stands should be cared for by coating them with oil or varnish to protect them from water spotting. Another option is to purchase gold-plated stands. However, on inexpensive candle-stands this plating can soon discolor and even begin peeling, making polishing impossible and necessitating expensive restoration work. To avoid this, when purchasing candle-holders it is best to obtain quality products from a known company. One such company is Istok Enterprises, at Istok.net, which offers a wide selection of all the candle-holders mentioned.

Deacon Nathan Williams

Paschal three-candle holders (10)


Dikiriy-Trikiriys (12)


Candle-stands (166)


 
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