Casula dating

As regards material, the candles used for liturgical purposes should be of beeswax.This is adhered to on account probably of its symbolic reference to the flesh of Christ, as already explained.

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From this has sprung the further conception that the wick symbolizes more particularly the soul of Jesus Christ and the flame the Divinity which absorbs and dominates both.

Thus the great paschal candle represents Christ, "the true light", and the smaller candles are typical of each individual Christian who strives to reproduce Christ in his life.

The carrying of tapers figures among the marks of respect prescribed to be shown to the highest dignitaries of the Roman Empire in the "Notitia Dignitatum Imperii".

It is highly probable that the candles which were borne from a very early period before the pope or the bishop when he went in procession to the sanctuary, or which attended the transport of the book of the Gospels to the ambo or pulpit from which the deacon read, were nothing more than an adaptation of this secular practice.

This symbolism we may say is still accepted in the Church at large. Cyprian in 258 was buried praelucentibus cereis ), we learn from the so-called Fourth Council of Carthage, really a synod held in Southern Gaul (c.514), that in conferring the minor order of acolyte The candidate had delivered to him "a candlestick with a candle". Such candles as these when carried by acolytes, as we learn from he Gregorian Sacramentary and the "Ordines Romani", were constantly used in the Roman Ceremonial from the seventh century and probably still earlier.

These candles were placed upon the pavement of the sanctuary and not until much later upon the altars.The word candle ( candela , from candeo , to burn) was introduced into the English language as an ecclesiastical term, probably as early as the eighth century.It was known in classical times and dennoted any kind of taper in which a wick, not uncommonly made of a strip of papyrus, was encased in wax or animal fat.The rubrics also prescribe that two acolytes with candles should walk at the head of the procession to the sanctuary, and these two candles are also carried to do honour to the chanting of the Gospel at high Mass, as well as to the singing of the little chapter and the collects at Vespers, etc.Similarly the bishop when he makes his entry into a church is received and escorted by the acolytes with their candles.Jerome in answer declared that the candles were lighted when the Gospel was read, not indeed to put darkness to flight, but as a sign of joy. L., XXIII, 345.) This remark and the close association of lighted candles with the baptismal ceremony, which took place on Easter Eve and which no doubt occasioned the description of that sacrament as photismos (illumination), shows that the Christian symbolism of blessed candles was already making itself felt at that early date.

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