Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Meeting of our Lord in the Temple
This feast, celebrated on February 2, is known in the Orthodox Church as The
Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Another
name for the feast is The Meeting of our
Lord. Roman Catholic and Protestant
Christians call the feast, The Purification of
the Holy Virgin. About 450 AD in Jerusalem,
people began the custom of holding lighted
candles during the Divine Liturgy of this feast
day. Therefore, some churches in the West
refer to this holy day as Candlemas. The Feast
of the Presentation concludes the
observances related to the Nativity of Christ,
a period that opened on November 15 with
the beginning of the Nativity fast.
The Icon of the Feast
The Holy Icon shows that the meeting takes
place inside the Temple and in front of the
altar. The altar has a book or a scroll on it and
is covered by a canopy. The Theotokos stands
to the left and is holding out her hands in a
gesture of offering. The one hand of the
Theotokos is covered by her cloak or as it is known, the maphorion. She has just
handed her Son to Simeon.
Christ is shown as a child, but He is not in swaddling clothes. He is clothed in a small
dress and his legs are bare. Jesus appears to be giving a blessing. Simeon holds Jesus
with both hands which are covered. This shows the reverence Simeon had for the
Messiah. Simeon is bare headed and there is nothing to show that he is a priest.
Some biblical scholars say that Simeon was probably a priest of the Temple or a
Doctor of the Law.
Joseph is behind the Theotokos. He is carrying the two turtle doves for the sacrifice.
Anna the Prophetess is also standing behind the Theotokos and is pointing to the
Christ child.
The words Simeon spoke when he saw the Christ Child are known as "St. Simeon's
Prayer." This prayer is sung daily at the evening Vespers services of the Orthodox
In the Orthodox Church, both baby boys and baby girls are taken to the Church on
the fortieth day after their birth. This is done in remembrance of the Theotokos and
Joseph taking the infant Jesus to the Temple.