Easter Candle

Easter Candle
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The Easter Candle is first lit during the Easter Vigil service on the evening of Holy Saturday. The rekindling of fire and light during the service symbolizes the triumph of Christ's resurrection over darkness and sin.
Before the candle is lit, fire is kindled and blessed. A cross is then inscribed on the candle, followed by the letters A (alpha) and Ω (omega), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, 'Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end'. The four numerals of the current year are then traced between the arms of the cross. Five grains of incense, representing the five wounds of Christ are inserted into the candle.
The candle is then carried into the darkened church and lifted up three times to the chant of 'Christ our light' before being placed on a stand next to the lecturn. The deacon or another minister then sings the Easter Proclamation (the Exsultet): 'Rejoice, heavenly powers!' a hymn of joy to 'the true Light, which lights every person that comes into the world' (from St John's Gospel).
The Easter Candle remains burning throughout the Easter season until Pentecost Sunday when it is moved to the Baptistery. Thereafter the Easter candle is lit for baptisms and funerals, reminding us that Christ is the Light of the World and that, through Him, we have the way to eternal life.

St Mary the Virgin East Grinstead. Church of England Parish in the Diocese of Chichester

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