A religious artifact is an object that contains religious significance. All religions have certain objects that are used for worship, identity, a rite of passage, or as reminders about religious beliefs. They usually signify specialness and are symbols of key beliefs. A Paschal candle is one such artifact that is used by the Roman Catholic as a symbol of their belief. A Paschal candle, also known as an Easter candle, is a large candle that I slit every Easter as well as special occasions such as funerals and baptism. Paschal candles are used to represent the death and resurrection o Jesus Christ and to honor that memory every Easter.
A paschal candle is either purchased or made for special occasions such as Easter. As Bower explains, the candle of central significance in the vigil (138). It has a diameter of at least two inches and two feet tall. It has a cross inscribed on it and the date when it is used. It is also written alpha and Omega, Greek letters that mean beginning and end. Each year, a new candle is used. During the lighting of the candle, the congregation gathers at an appointed place in silence as the priest conduct religious activities about Easter. The wax of the candle is supposed to be genuine and not artificial to symbolize death (Boyer 163). Moreover, it should be of high quality to represent love and care. Real flowers are also placed around it as a sign of reverence to Christ.
The use of the candle as a religious artifact stems back from Roman civil and imperial use. According to Wainwright, candles have been used throughout the centuries as a ceremonial object during the liturgy (847). Certain Christian officials were supposed to be accompanied using the candles. However, Wainwright notes that the use of candles in the early centuries was not very common since they were regarded as cults. Nevertheless, the use of candles for Christians increased with time and people started using it not only for just celebration but also during mass and devotional purposes. The Protestant Reformation changed the way Christians used candles. While some did away with such practices, other churches retained their use. Those who stopped using the candle felt that it was part of idolatry since it involved using the candle to offer reverence to statutes (Wainwright 847). However, some churches such as the Roma catholic continued to use the candlelight in masses and special occasions.
The paschal candle is used to help the believers as they worship by reminded them of Jesus’s virtual. They display Christ as the light of the world (Boyer 164). During Easter, a priest uses the paschal candle to conducts some rites to represent the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Boyers explains, the candle also represents the Passover to new life through death (158). The priest also insertsfive incense grains into the candle that represents the head, feet, side, and hands of Jesus where he was wounded. This activity helps believers to honor the memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It also reminds Christians that they will also share Christ’s victory and live with God forever.
Therefore, the paschal candle is a religious artifact used by Roman Catholics mostly during Easter as they remember Passover, death, and resurrection of Christ. The artifact has been used by the Romans since ancient times as a worship symbol. The artifact is carefully made to represent love, care, and death of Christians so that they can cross over to heaven and live with God. Paschal candle is a very significant symbol of Christians’ faith in Jesus Christ.
Bower, Peter C. The Companion to the Book of Common Worship. Geneva P, 2003.
Boyer, Mark G. The Liturgical Environment: What the Documents Say. Liturgical P, 2015.
Wainwright, Geoffrey. The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Oxford UP, 2006.
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