Skip to comments.Orthodox Feast of The Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple; February 2
Posted on 02/01/2006 4:33:22 PM PST by Kolokotronis
Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.
Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to Your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom You love, as only the loving One.
When the most pure Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary's forty days of purification had been fulfilled, she took her first-born Son to Jerusalem on this, the fortieth day after His birth, that she might present Him in the temple according to the Law of Moses, which teaches that every first-born male child be dedicated to God, and also that she might offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Law (Luke 2:22-24; Exod. 13:2; Lev. 12:6-8). On this same day, a just and devout man, the greatly aged Symeon, was also present in the temple, being guided by the Holy Spirit. For a long time, this man had been awaiting the salvation of God, and he had been informed by divine revelation that he would not die until he beheld the Lord's Christ. Thus, when he beheld Him at that time and took Him up into his aged arms, he gave glory to God, singing: "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, O Master. . ." And he confessed that he would close his eyes joyfully, since he had seen the Light of revelation for the nations and the Glory of Israel (Luke 2:25-32). From ancient times, the Holy Church has retained this tradition of the churching of the mother and new-born child on the fortieth day and of the reading of prayers of purification.
The Apodosis of the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple is usually on the 9th of February. This, however, may vary if the Feast falls within the period of the Triodion. Should this occur, the Typicon should be consulted for specific information concerning the Apodosis of the Feast.
Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA Apolytikion courtesy of Narthex Press, Northridge, CA Kontakion courtesy of Narthex Press, Northridge, CA
Ping for the Presentation!
Note that in the icon, the Righteous Symeon does not directly touch the Christ child, but rather has his hands covered with a cloth.
One of the readings for the Vigil of the Presentation is the opening passage of Isaiah, where the angel takes a burning coal in a pair of tongs, and touches it to the lips of Isaiah -- and yet he is not burned.
In his brief homily tonight, our priest pointed out that the fathers saw in this taking of the coal in the tongs a prefiguration of this event, where a human would take Christ into his arms and receive him in the temple.
He said that the fathers also saw this passage as a prefiguration of the communion that we receive in a spoon. Just as Isaiah's lips were not burned, and as Symeon's hands were not burned, so we too are not burned and consumed by the fire of the Holy Mysteries when we receive them worthily. The fire rather burns away the chaff of our sins, as the pre and post communion prayers say.
From Matins of the Vigil:
The elder, bowing low and divinely touching the feet
Of the Mother of God who knew not wedlock, said:
"O Pure one, thou dost bear Fire!
I fear to hold the infant God,
The Light unwaning,
Who reigneth with peace!"
"Isaiah was purified
By the burning ember brought by the seraph,"
The elder cried to the Mother of God,
"And thou dost illumine me,
Giving me Him
Whom thou dost bear in thine arms as with tongs,
The Light unwaning,
Who reigneth with peace."
(The 2nd and 3rd troparia of the Canon of the Feast, in Tone III)
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