Types of Vigil lamps
There are two basic types of vigil lamps: hanging and standing. Usually vigil lamps are lit using oil, usually olive oil, as the fuel feeding a floating wick. The vessel holding the oil is a cup usually made of heat treated glass. Sometime lamps that burn a wax, usually bee's wax, candle are used. In Orthodox Christian usage, electric lamps are not used.
How a Vigil lamp is used
Vigil lamps are used extensively in churches and chapels. Hanging lamps are the most common, consisting of a wall mounted bracket with three chains attached to a holder that holds the glass bowl containing the oil. The metal ware is generally plated in silver or gold. The hanging lamp is hung from a bracket mounted over an icon so that the lamp is in front of the lower half of the icon.
Standing lamps are often used when an icon is hung low over a table or stand, Often a vigil lamp maybe mounted on top of a tube placed in the middle of a candle stand, that is before an icon, where the faithful can place individual bee's wax candles. In these cases the vigil lamp provides the source for the worshiper to light their candles.
Vigil lamps are often used by the faithful before icons in icon corners in their homes.
Buying vigil lamps
Vigil lamps can be purchased at most Orthodox liturgical supply stores.
- [are Vigil Lamps lit before Icons?] by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
- Cultivate That Quiet Light - by Protodeacon Leonid Mickle (Orthodox America)
- Vigil Lamp Supplies and the Tactile Nature of Prayer - with some practical suggestions