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The Paschal Trikirion (Greek: Τρικιριον; Slavonic: Троіца, Troitsa) is a liturgical triple-candlestick used at Pascha (Easter) in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which use the Byzantine Rite.
Unlike the simpler trikirion, which is only used by a bishop, the Paschal trikirion is used by every priest at the Paschal Vigil, throughout Bright Week, and on the Apodosis of Pascha. The Paschal trikirion is carried in the left hand by the chief celebrant (whether bishop or priest) at all of the services; in particular, while chanting the Paschal verses at the beginning of Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy; while censing; during the Little Entrance; or when giving the Paschal greeting.
The Paschal trikirion comes in various forms. The Greek form of the Paschal trikirion generally has a flat base, so that it may stand upright. Sometimes this base will have an icon of the Resurrection of Christ. Above this base is a vertical shaft terminating in three candleholders. 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. Sometimes the candleholders are mounted at an angle so that the candles cross each other. 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 colour (red, green, blue).
The Paschal trikirion is often decorated with fresh flowers attached to the candleholder.
The deacon also carries a special candle during the Paschal services. The deacon's candle is a single large candle which he carries in his left hand while giving 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.
- Russian Orthodox bishop carrying the Paschal trikirion (photo)
- Deacons carrying Paschal candles (plus back-view of the Paschal trikirion)
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