QUAERITUR: the number of candles to be used

From a reader:

I would like to know what the rubrics are regarding the use of candles for the Divine Office in the Extraordinary Form. I have been reading through rubrics in Brevaries, but have found nothing concerning candles. I once heard that six candles are always used for sung Vespers, regardless of the rank of the feast.

Do you know where I could find regulations concerning this?

Yes, six candles are used for Vespers.  And two candles are brought in during the procession and set on the altar steps.

I believe Fortescue-O’Connell has that, as do most of the other manuals, such as Trimeloni and Collins, etc.

I will now pass the torch to readers who will no doubt shed more light on the matter.

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  1. revs96 says:

    The sacristan’s manual on SantaMissa.org implies that no candles are used at simple vespers and at solemn vespers candles are as described above. If benediction follows, candles would have to be prepared appropriately, be the vespers simple or solemn.

  2. Oneros says:

    I was reading in Fortescue yesterday about public Compline and it said two candles, or “even four for particularly solemn days” but that if Compline immediately followed Vespers, to leave all the candles on that would have been there for Vespers.

  3. Pelicanus says:

    Trimeloni writes: “All’ALTARE: 6 oppure 4 candele, secondo la sollennità(CE, I, XII, 24.).”

  4. Mark M says:

    Fortescue says “For Solemn Vespers on greater days the six large candles are lighted: four suffice on ordinary Sundays. If other altars are to be incensed, at least two candles should be lighted on them” (14th ed., p. 239).

  5. Matthew in Vancouver says:

    “I will now pass the torch to readers who will no doubt shed more light on the matter.”


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