Orthodox Prayers and Other Resources
Becoming a virtual Church has been difficult on us all! You have struggled being away from the sacraments and from the body of believers. And I have struggled not being able to minister to you face-to-face.
Many people have been working hard to help our virtual Church establish its foundation – David, Emil, Gabriel and the the Parish Council. Thankfully we have been able to establish a YouTube page and to add some important elements to our Website.
Why do we light a candle?
Answer: Whenever we, as faithful Orthodox Christians, enter a Church, we light a candle. Before we light the candle, however, we put a monetary offering in the pangari (furniture from where we purchase the candles), and venerate the icons. The offering is important, because the candle itself, is also an offering. It is representative of the offering of our very lives to God. Christ said, “I am the light to the world”. He also said to His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in the Heavens.” Just as the flame burns the beeswax, so does the flame of the Holy Spirit burn the struggles of our virtues. Just as it takes the use of our hands to light the candle, so it takes the hands of God to light the candles of our hearts. Just as the wax is consumed by the fire, so must we be offered to Christ, by allowing our passions to be consumed by the fire of the Holy Spirit, and by living every moment of our lives for Christ. Just as the light burns bright and adds illumination, so do our prayers burn brightly and add illumination to our lives. The candle is an offering to God; an offering of prayer, of thanksgiving, and glory for whatever God has done good in our lives and whatever He is doing even now. It is the light of the saints, whom St. Paul calls, “children of light”, who have gone on before us into the heavenly places. We leave our “torches” in the sand as those early Christian martyrs did, who were entering the catacombs for worship. For all of this and more, we light a candle. Amen.
Is there any other reason why we light our candle in church?
Answer: Besides the higher spiritual reasons mentioned above for why we light candles, there is another simpler and practical reason: to make a financial offering to the church. When we go to light our candle, we should also give an offering for the various services and expenses of the church. The church gives us the candle as a blessing for our offering and allows us to ignite the flame of the symbolisms mentioned above.
Should we light candles outside the church as well?
Answer: It is good and laudable to light candles at home when we pray, when the priest visits for a house blessing with Holy Water or Holy Unction, and even light a candle when we visit the grave of a loved one.
Is there any other purpose to the candle?
Answer: When we light a candle in the church, we are making an offering to the church or to a particular icon to beautify it and show through physical light the symbolization of the uncreated light of God's house or the saint depicted in the icon.
Prayer At the Icon of Christ
We reverence Your spotless icon, O gracious Lord, and ask forgiveness of our transgressions, O Christ our God. Because of Your own good will You ascended the Cross in the flesh, that You might deliver those who You had created from the bondage of the enemy. We cry aloud unto You: You have filled all things with joy, O our Savior, for You came to save the world. Amen.
Prayer At the Icon of the Theotokos
Tenderness springs forth from you, O Theotokos, make us worthy of compassion. Look upon sinful people, reveal your power for ever as we hope in you and cry aloud: Rejoice! as did the Archangel Gabriel, Chief Captain of the Bodiless Powers. Amen.