Mass of Candles lights up Cathedral for Candlemas

February 6, 2019
Posted in News
February 6, 2019 Michelle

This copyrighted photo was taken by an award winning national press photographer and kindly shared with us. 

In one of the most spectacular services of the year, the architectural glories of Ripon Cathedral were illuminated by 7,000 candles for our Candlemas service.

The service celebrates the presentation by Mary and Joseph of the baby Jesus in the Temple. St Luke’s Gospel tells of the encounter with the old man Simeon, and the prophetess Anna. Simeon had waited in the temple for ‘the light to lighten the Gentiles.’ He had been promised that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he spoke the words that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, thy word has been fulfilled.” It is said or sung in the cathedral every evening in evening prayer and evensong.

Canon Michael Gisbourne, said: “Candlemas is a key date in that it marks 40 days since Christmas and the Epiphany; it is a pivotal day when having looked back to Christmas for the last time, we turn towards Lent and the crucifixion.”

The displays featured a mixture of red, white and blue candles both on high level ridges and on the floor.

Head verger, Charlie Brown, explained: “Most will be unaware of the meticulous behind the scenes planning for the service with around 25 staff and volunteers setting out and lighting the candles. They followed a design drawn up by one of the vergers, Brother Joseph Hobson, using a single dot to represent each candle.”

The service was led by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson with the Dean of Wakefield, the Very Rev Simon Cowling preaching.


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