Religion Past and Present

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Candles, Blessing of
(169 words)

[German Version]

Despite their multi-faceted use in liturgy and popular piety, candles were not originally blessed or “consecrated.” The Easter candle first attested in 384 for Piacenza (PL 30, 182f.) consitutes an exception. Evening light blessings attested since the 2nd century survive in its “consecration.” Only since the 10th century have prayers for the blessing of candles appeared, which were used in processions, first and foremost in the procession on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (2/2). This practice and the motif of devotion gave rise to universally applicab…

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Maas-Ewerd, Theodor, “Candles, Blessing of”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 19 November 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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