Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Light-Giving Candle (Φωτοδόχος Λαμπάδα)

The icon depicted here is a rare one. Personally I had never seen it before, showing the Virign Mary, the Theotokos being, together with her Son, the light coming out of the Light-Giving Candle, as stated on the icon. In Prophet Zechariah’s book (4:2) we read: ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.’ The Theotokos is symbolised in this passage; the one who held the light of the world, who carried in her body the Son of God. This light is shared throughout the Christian community, within creation, to those who believe in Jesus Christ, who had claimed: ‘Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.’ (Matthew 5:15). Without this light, without this candle, the beneficial rays of the divine light is impossible to exist.

Candles and light play an important role within our Christian lives. Upon entering a Church we light a candle; during a memorial service we hold a candle; a candle is also part of our prayer; during Holy Saturday in a darkened Church we sing ‘Come receive the light…’ whereby we receive the Resurrection light from the priest. After this event we sing the joyous hymn ‘Christ is Risen’ making us all part of the joyous event of the Resurrection. Therefore, the Virgin Mary is the one who leads us, through her ministry, to the light of Christ, since she was the Light-Giving Candle, showing thus her significance within the whole history of creation and her unique place within the Body of the Church.

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