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Orthodox Baptism Symbolism & History

Orthodox Baptism Candles

'Holy Illumination' is a term used by the Orthodox faith to describe Baptism because it is through the holy sacrament of Baptism that Christ, the Light of the World, enters in our hearts.  Candles are lit after the baptism to symbolize this newly acquired Light of Christ that will carry us throughout our lives.  The baptized child has opened its eyes to the light of creation and is called to see all things through the eyes of Jesus Christ.

Candles are used for the Sacrament of Baptism in the Eastern Orthodox churches, including Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian, Antiochian, Greek and Romanian. 

The candles are mandatory for the Orthodox Baptism

***Lambatha - singular referring to one candle in Greek.

***Lambathes - plural referring to multiple candles in Greek. 

Typically, the godparent is the one that provides the candles for the baptism.  Most of the time in the USA, one large lambatha and two smaller candles are used during the sacrament.  The godparent will hold the large lambatha and the small candles may be held by children attending the baptism.  It is always best to confirm the number of candles needed with the parish. Usually, only the large lambatha is needed for an adult baptism.  This large candle is the one that will be brought and lit at church the three consecutive Sundays after the baptism.  

During the sacrament of baptism, the candles are blessed, so they need to be allowed to burn down.  Decorations can be taken off so the candles can be left burning in the church candle stands.  The small candles can be used as Easter Candles.