Paschal trikirion

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Bishop holding a paschal trikirion
Russian Orthodox archpriest holding a paschal trikirion during a procession in Novosibirsk

The Paschal Trikirion (Greek: Τρικήριον) is a liturgical triple-candlestick used at Easter time in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic traditions.

Liturgical use[edit]

The paschal trikirion is not mentioned in the liturgical books of the Orthodox Church; indeed, both the Pentecostarion[1] and the Typicon[2] dictate the celebrant carry a cross in his left hand when, in contemporary practice, the paschal trikirion[3] is also carried.

Eastern Orthodox bishop holding a paschal trikirion with two deacons (backs to camera) holding paschal deacon's candles.

The paschal trikirion is held by the serving priest (whether a bishop or a presbyter) in contrast to the bishop's trikirion which the bishop uses for blessing and is held or carried alongside the bishop. It is used from the commencement of the celebration of the Resurrection during the Paschal Vigil through the end of Bright Week, and also on the Apodosis of Pascha,[4] when it is used at sundry times, in particular, while chanting the paschal verses at the beginning of Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy, while censing,[3] during the Little Entrance, and when giving the paschal greeting.


The paschal trikirion is fashioned in various styles in various regions. The Greek form of the paschal trikirion generally has a flat base allowing it to stand upright, and above this base is a vertical shaft terminating in three candleholders; sometimes this base has an icon of the Resurrection. The candleholders may be mounted at an angle so that the candles cross each other, as in a bishop's trikirion. Often the candles are tied together with ribbons at the point of intersection. Sometimes, among the Greeks, the priest simply holds a large single candle. Another form, more commonly seen in the Slavic churches, has the three candleholders attached to a large blessing crucifix with a vertical handle. This form cannot stand upright while the candles are lit. The candles may be white or each candle may be a different color and fresh flowers often decorate the candleholder.

The trikirion holds three candles, representing the Resurrection of Christ on the third day, and also representing the three persons of the Holy Trinity, all three of whom, according to Orthodox theology, were actively involved in the salvation of man.[citation needed]

Deacon's candle[edit]

Russian Orthodox deacon holding a red paschal deacon's candle

As specified in the liturgical books the Pentecostarion[1] and the Typicon,[2] deacons also carry a candle throughout the paschal services. The deacon's candle is a single large candle which he carries in his left hand while reciting ektenias (litanies), while censing, and at other times when his hands are not otherwise occupied. It is also often decorated with fresh flowers. In the Slavic tradition, this candle may be red.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b [1] page 2, Цвѣтнаѧ Трїωдь (in Church Slavonic, the Pentecostarion)", Retrieved 2011-12-24
  2. ^ a b Типико́нъ сіесть уста́въ (Title here transliterated into Russian; actually in Church Slavonic) (The Typicon which is the Order), Москва (Moscow, Russian Empire): Синодальная типография (The Synodal Printing House), 1907, p. 458(reverse side)
  3. ^ a b [2] Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine "Archbishop Averky Liturgics — The Pascha of the Lord, or the Resurrection of Christ", Retrieved 2011-12-24
  4. ^ [3] Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine "Archbishop Averky Liturgics — The Leave-taking of Pascha", Retrieved 2011-12-24

External links[edit]