In the past two weeks we have looked at our Jewish background and the development of the Lucernarium, Vespers, as well as the Vigil around the Holy Sepulcher. Before I share a story about the Medieval Period I want to speak to climate as it is major factor in the human experience.
The Little Ice Age (LIA)
Climatologists and historians disagree as to the exact time periods that Europe and the Northern Hemisphere were effected by the cooling climate change. It is believed this took place over a time period called the Medieval Climate Optimum, a warming and cooling time beginning in 1300 and lasting to 1850.
So when the time of the Great Vigil happened, the climate was probably overcast and cold. The village households would extinguish the hearth fire, clear it out, and reset it for the new fire. Lanterns were prepared to take to the Vigil. The people of the village would then gather at the local parish church at sunset. The priest wold strike a flint, light and bless the New Fire, and light the Paschal Candle from it. The lamps were then lit in the church. After the Vigil Service people would light their lanterns to take the Paschal Fire home to light their hearths and lamps. This fire was kept lit for the year, for cooking, heat, and household tasks. The Faithful lived by the Light of Christ and depended on it for all of their everyday needs.
Now we live with many conveniences; however, I would like to suggest that when you turn on a light you recall that this light is a symbol to you of the Presence of the Christ. When you start the furnace recall that you live in the loving warmth of Our Lord, and think of how you can share that love with others.
Live in the Joy of the Resurrection, for we ARE the Alleluia People!
See you again in a few weeks,
I remain your bro. John, O.C.P.