New Fire

New Fire a term for the fire kindled on Easter Eve in Romish and Anglican churches for relighting the church lamps, which were extinguished on Good Friday, though in some places the upper candle of the tonebrae was reserved for the purpose, and in others, as at Rome in 750, in the pontificate of Zozimus, three lamps were concealed, emblematical of the three days in which Jesus lay in the tomb; but usually the new flame was kindled by a burning-glass from the sun, as a type of the Orient on high, or, as mentioned by Leo IV in the 9th century, from a flint, symbolical of the Rock (1Co 10:4), as at Florence, from one brought from Jerusalem in the time of the Crusaders. The rekindling represented both the resurrection and the fire which Christ came to cast upon the earth (Mt 12:49). The fire was used to light three tapers branching from a common stock in the form of a lance. See Walcott, Sacred Archaeology, p. 397, 398.

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