Monday, May 22, 2006

Extinguish the Paschal Candle on the Feast of Ascension . . . or Else!

This Thursday being the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, parishes around the world have a vital decision to make: do we extinguish the Paschal Candle on Ascension Day or on Pentecost?

I know of good otherwise orthodox churches that extinguish on Pentecost . . . but they are gravely mistaken. Just think of the symbolism. Does extinguishing the candle better symbolize the departure of our Lord or the coming of the Holy Spirit? One doesn’t have to be a scholar in liturgics or even an Anglo-Catholic or even an obsessive owner of Ritual Notes (My copy says Ascension.) to know it better symbolizes the departure of our Lord.

But you don’t have to take my word on this, although you should. For the Lord Himself has made his counsel quite clear on this matter. Look what happened to a Paschal Candle that was not extinguished on the Feast of Ascension. After it was brazenly lit on Day of Pentecost, the Lord’s wrath fell down, and the candle exploded. Note that the Lord was so wroth, He later smote another candle at the same Australian parish. May He so do to all Ungodly Innovations.

Further admonitions should be unnecessary. Extinguish the Paschal Candle on the Feast of Ascension as the Lord intends.

UPDATE: Although further discussion of this question should be unnecessary, you may find said discussion here at my favorite board on liturgical matters.

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