Why is it customary to light candles in Christian churches? This custom has its origins in ancient times, when Christianity just arose in the Roman Empire and was severely persecuted. The Christians of that time were forced to meet and conduct services in secret, in underground quarries (catacombs). Since there was pitch darkness, people lit the candles they had brought. In addition, in addition to pure necessity, candles also played a sacred role: they became a symbol of a voluntary gift, a sacrifice that believers bring to God.
Subsequently, when Christianity not only ceased to be persecuted, but also became the dominant religion, the custom of lighting candles in the church was preserved, becoming a symbol of faith and love for the Creator, the Mother of God and all the holy saints. As the priests explain, there are no strict, obligatory rules about exactly where and how many candles should be placed upon coming to the church. However, there are some rules. First, it is advisable to put a candle to the icon, symbolizing the church holiday, which is celebrated on this very day. Such an icon is usually exhibited in the middle of the temple, and it is easy to recognize it: after all, it is in front of it that numerous candles are burning. If you have any doubts, you can ask a priest, any temple minister or parishioner. If a person, for some reason, does not light the first candle to the festive icon, there is no sin. He may well first put candles to other icons or to the relics of a saint (if, of course, they are in this particular church). The question very often arises: where should the healing and memorial candles be placed? There are subtleties here that must be well remembered. Asking for health for themselves, their loved ones or someone else, candles are placed in front of the images of the Savior, the Mother of God, the holy healer Panteleimon. You can also put candles in front of the images of those saints whom the Savior endowed with the power to help people in some specific circumstances (for example, Saint Nicholas is considered the patron saint of sailors). For repose, candles are placed at the crucifix, on the eve, that is, on a special table set aside for this purpose. You can easily find it yourself, or you can ask any temple minister or parishioner with this question. It is advisable to come to the temple before the service begins in order to calmly, without disturbing anyone, light candles. If the service has already begun, and there are a lot of people in the church, do not squeeze into the icons, but rather pass the candle to those who are in front of you, quietly asking for the service and specifying exactly how it should be placed. Or wait until the end of the service and install it yourself.