Peace Light .org

A web site dedicated to facilitating the distribution of the Peace Light from Bethlehem throughout the North American continent

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How long do I keep the Peace Light flame burning?
A: How long you keep the Peace Light lit is entirely up to you. Some people extinguish it after first Christmas December 25, some after second Christmas January 7 (which is December 25th using the Julian calendar, which some orthodox churches still use) some keep it through Epiphany. Personally I relight my water heater pilot light with the Peace Light flame and I have it available year around. It has been used at Eagle Courts of Honor, a Wedding and a Vigil in remembrance of a Scout who took his own life.

Q: How does the Peace Light relate to the Messengers of Peace program?

A: According to this national BSA web site :
Messengers of Peace is a World Scout Committee initiative designed to promote and recognize service projects that contribute to world peace.

Scouting defines peace as more than just the absence of war. In terms of the MOP initiative, peace encompasses three dimensions:

  1. The personal dimension: harmony, justice, and equality
  2. The community dimension: peace as opposed to hostility or violent conflict
  3. Relationships between humankind and its environment: security, social and economic welfare, and relationship with the environment
Any project that has a significant impact on the community in any one of the three dimensions above would qualify.
It qualifies if it meets the definition of peace given above. No one beyond the unit has to approve a project’s Messengers of Peace status.

Ultimately it is up to each individual unit to decide what qualifies as a Messenger of Peace service project. Please refer to the web site link above for more information and links to the reporting tools.


Q: How long has the Peace Light burned in Bethlehem ?

A: The short answer I use is over 1000 years.

According to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Nativity
"The current basilica was rebuilt in its present form in 565 by the
Emperor Justinian I."

From here http://www.bobmay.info/dec102003nativitychurch.htm
I discovered that "Of the 15 lamps burning around the recess, six belong to the Greeks, five to the Armenians and four to the Roman Catholics."

From here http://www.earlychristians.org/Jerusalem/Bethlehem.html
I learned: "In 1347, the Grotto of the Nativity was entrusted to the care and custody of the Franciscans. Between 1645-1669, the Greek Orthodox were also granted rights to maintain the Basilica. Between 1810-1829, the Armenian Orthodox also had rights to the Basilica. Ever since, the Basilica was divided among the three churches." And "Above the altar, there are suspended silver lamps of oil which are lighted both day and night."

Matches were neither cheap or practical prior to the 1800's so maintaining a flame was easier than reigniting from a new source. Even if it was the Franciscans who started the lamp tradition, they would have been maintaining a flame for over 500 years when matches became available.

In summary:
Maximum age 2011 - 565 =   1446 years
Minimum age 2011 - 1347 = 664 years

Q: What is the key to being a good Peace Light Coordinator?
A:Three keys to Peace Light Coordination.html
Q: What is a Peace Light infused candle
A: Some times people light a candle with the Peace Light, blow it out, transport it to another location, then reignite it. While we understand the difficulties of  not being able to transport the Peace Light as a continuous flame on most commercial airlines, there are other ways to cover long distances while maintaining a continuous flame. It is our intention to only report on continuous flame Peace Light distributions. Our goal is that some day a continuous flame Peace Light will be available everywhere in North America. Our wish is that  one day a continuous flame Peace Light will be available everywhere in the world.

Q: What program was used at the New York, JFK ceremony?
A:JFK program in MS Word 97 - 2003 format: 2009 JFK Peace Light ceremony.doc
A:JFK program in pdf: 2009 JFK Peace Light ceremony.pdf

Q: When I distribute the Peace Light, how can I remind people to report their location?
A: Peace Light cards are available on the Links page.
Q: What does a Peace Light Coordinator do?
A: The Peace Light Coordinator job description can be found here:  Peace Light Coordinator.pdf
Q: How do I make a Peace Light carrier?
A: A step by step Peace Light carrier construction procedure can be found here:  Peace Light Lantern Carrier.pdf

Q: Are there any specific words that should be said as the light is passed?
A: At a minimum the recipients should accept the Peace Light challenge with the words given to us by the Austrians:

A: "We gladly receive this light as a sign of our willingness to be channels of peace, by our words and actions"

A: longer ceremony can be found here: Sharing of the Light Ceremony.pdf


Q: Is there any music available for a Peace Light ceremony?
A: The Peace Light Song can be found here:  Peace Light Song.pdf


Q: What other names is the Peace Light known by around the world?
Austria - Friedenslicht aus Betlehem
Bulgarian - Светлината на мира от Витлеем
Croatian - SVJETLO MIRA IZ BETLEHEMA
Czech - betlémské svĕtlo pokoje
Hungarian - béke fényét
Latvian - miera gaisma no Betlēmes
Lithuanian - Santarves sviesa is Betliejaus
Polish - Betlejemskie Światlo Pokoju
Romanian - Lumina Pacii din Bethlehem
Russian - Свет мира из Вифлеема
Serbian - Mirovno svetlo iz Betlehema
Slovak - Svetlo mieru z Betlehema
Spanish (Spain) - La Luz de Paz de Betlehem
Spanish (Mexico) - La luz de la Paz de Belén
Swedish - Fredsljuset från Betlehem
Ukranian - Свiтло мира з Вифлиєма




Q: What did Roger and Joe do in 2008?
A: Their final report can be found here:  2008 final report from Roger and Joe.pdf