Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 10 AM


The Presentation of Christ at the Temple

the Great Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple better known as the Feast of The Meeting of Our Lord (February the 2nd or 15th).

The Icon of the Meeting of the Lord - Luke 2:22-39

The Meeting takes place inside the Temple, in front of the altar with the Book of Law on it and with open Curtain, signifying the entrance of God.

Righteous Joseph the Betrothed is carrying the two turtle doves for the sacrifice.

Next to Righteous Joseph is Prophetess Anna,  a woman of great faith and prayer, "never departed from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day". Anna is pointing to the Christ child. 

Theotokos holds out her hands in a gesture of offering and humility, one hand is covered by her  own veil (maphorion). She has just handed her Son to Simeon.

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. 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 Church.

Christ is shown as a child, but He is not in swaddling clothes. He is clothed in a robe and his feet are bare and He appears to be giving a blessing.

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The Significance of the Meeting of the Lord Feast/Event

This cosmic event completes the act of God of becoming like us, His people, by flesh. Christ fulfills His own Covenant with His people. He is Born for our redemption, became like us to be our Highpriest, King and Savior:

... being made in human likeness - Philippians 2:7
... born of woman, born under the law - Galatians 4:4
... Descendant of David according to flesh - Romans 1:3
... came to his own - John 1:11
... like His brethren in all things - Hebrews 2:17
... He is the consecrated firstborn - Exodus 13:2
... even His Mother was properly purified, His caretaker Joseph brought the sacrifice, St. Simeon was blessed and released - Luke 1:39

The Feast of the Presentation concludes the observances related to the Theophany (Appearance of God), a period that began with the Nativity Fast.

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Troparion to the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord

More reading: 
Exodus 12:15-13:16; Leviticus 12; Numbers 8; Isaiah 6:1-12, and 19:1,3-5,12,16,19-21; Luke 2:25-32 and 2:22-40; Hebrews 7:7-17 


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History of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord

Christians commemorate the event on the fortieth day after the Feast of the Nativity of Christ (AKA Christmas). The Virgin and Righteous Joseph came to the Temple for a prescribed sacrifice and brought God-Child along on the fortieth day as mandated by the Law and practiced at the time - Exodus 13:2-12.

Lead by the Holy Spirit, Righteous Simeon and Prophetess Anna came to the Temple to Meet the Lord.

Simeon was one of the seventy translators who worked on the Septuagint some 200+ years prior to this event. When translating the book of Isaiah, Simeon was intending to translate the word "virgin" as "young woman" or "young wife".  Suddenly an Angel of the Lord stopped him. Simeon was promised by/through an Angel of the Lord that before he dies he will see the Messiah. Simeon was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come so he could meet Him

It appears that the Feast already was observed in 3rd century. One such observation was made by nun Egeria in her letter, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land cir 381–384: 
The fortieth day after the Epiphany is undoubtedly celebrated here with the very highest honor, for on that day there is a procession, in which all take part, in the Anastasis (proclamation of the Resurrection -ed.), and all things are done in their order with the greatest joy, just as at Pascha (Easter -ed.). All the priests, and after them the bishop, preach, always taking for their subject that part of the Gospel where Joseph and Mary brought the Lord into the Temple on the fortieth day, and Symeon and Anna the prophetess... ... the sacrament is celebrated... - Chapter 26.
 Other mentions are in sermons on the Feast by the bishops Methodius of Patara († 312), Cyril of Jerusalem († 360), Gregory the Theologian († 389), Amphilochius of Iconium († 394), Gregory of Nyssa († 400), and John Chrysostom († 407).

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Scriptural References

Luke 2:23-24
... Simeon ... just and devout ... revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. ... he came by the Spirit into the temple... ... took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marvelled at those things... And Simeon blessed them, and said... this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel...
 Exodus 13:2
"Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."
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The Poetry of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord

Kontakion (Tone 1)

Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Simeon. 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.

The Doxastica at the Litia Procession (Tone 5)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Search the Scriptures, as Christ our God said in the Gospels; for there we shall see Him born and wrapped in swaddling clothes, a suckling babe feeding on milk; accepting circumcision, borne in the arms of Simeon, and appearing to the world, not in fancy or imagination, but in truth. Wherefore, let us shout to Him, saying: O God before eternity, glory to Thee.

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Ancient of Days, having become a babe in the flesh, is brought to the Temple by a Virgin Mother, thus fulfilling the statute of His own Law. Receiving Him, Simeon said: Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, O Lord.

The Eisodikon (Entrance Hymn)

The Lord hath made known His salvation; He hath revealed His justice in the sight of the Gentiles. Save us, O Son of God, Who wast borne in the arms of righteous Simeon; who sing to Thee. Alleluia.

Apolytikon (Tone 1)

Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, full of grace, for from thee arose the Sun of justice, Christ our God, lighting those who are in darkness. Rejoice and be glad, O righteous elder, carrying in thine arms the Deliverer of our souls, Who granteth us Resurrection.

Kontakion (Tone 1)

Thou, O Christ God, Who by Thy Birth, didst sanctify the Virgin’s womb, and, as is meet, didst bless Simeon’s arms, and didst also come to save us; preserve Thy fold in wars, and confirm them whom Thou didst love, for Thou alone art the Lover of mankind.

Megalynarion (Tone 3)

O Theotokos, thou hope of all Christians; keep and shelter and preserve them that set their hope in thee.
Let us magnify, O believers, the first-born Son, the eternal Word of the Father, First-born of a Mother who knew no man; for we have beheld in the shadow of the law and the Scriptures a sign, that every first-born male that openeth the womb is called holy to God.

Kathsmata (Plain Reading)

Let the ranks of angels be astonished with wonder, and let us raise our voices in praise, as we behold the ineffable condescension, the condescension of God; for He before Whom the powers of heaven tremble is carried today in the arms of the elder, and He alone is the Lover of mankind.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
He that is with the Father on the holy throne, came down to earth, was born of the Virgin, became a babe, and is unbounded in time. And Simeon, having carried Him in his arms, shouted with joy, saying: Now lettest Thou thy servant, O compassionate One, depart; for Thou hast gladdened him.

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Verily, the Ancient of Days becometh a babe for my sake; and the all-pure God shareth in the impure to save me in the flesh which He took from the Virgin. And Simeon, having been made the confidant to these mysteries, knew Him as God appearing in the flesh. Wherefore, he kissed Him, for He is Life. And the elder cried with joy, saying: Lettest thou me depart, for I have beheld Thee, O Life of all.

Troparion (Tone 6)

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Today let the gate of heaven be opened; for the Word of the Father Who is without beginning, having taken a beginning in time, not separating from His Godhead, is offered by His own will, by a Virgin Mother as a child forty days old in the Mosaic Temple; and the priest, His servant, receiveth Him in his arms, crying with joy: Now lettest thou me depart, for mine eyes have beheld Thy salvation. Wherefore, O Thou Who didst come into the world to save mankind, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Kontakoin and Oikos (Plain Reading)

Thou, O Christ God, Who by Thy Birth, didst sanctify the Virgin’s womb, and, as is meet, didst bless Simeon’s arms, and didst also come to save us; preserve Thy fold in wars, and confirm them whom Thou didst love, for Thou alone art the Lover of mankind.

Let us hasten to the Theotokos, we who wish to see her Son brought unto Simeon. When the incorporeal powers looked on Him out of heaven, they were astonished, saying: Now do we see strange and wondrous things, incomprehensible and inexpressible. He Who made Adam is carried as a babe; the Uncontainable is held in the arms of the elder; He Who abideth uncircumscribed in the bosom of His Father is willingly circumscribed in the flesh, but not in His Godhead, and He alone is the Lover of mankind.

Antiophon

Save us, O Son of God, Who wast borne in the arms of righteous Simeon; who sing to Thee. Alleluia.

The Dismissal

May He Who deigned to be carried in the arms of Simeon the Righteous for our salvation, Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His all-immaculate and all-blameless holy Mother; by the might of the Precious and Life-giving Cross; by the protection of the honorable Bodiless Powers of Heaven; at the supplication of the honorable, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; of the holy, glorious and all-laudable apostles; of the holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyrs; of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers; of Saint N., the patron and protector of this holy community; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, and of all the saints: have mercy on us and save us, forasmuch as He is good and loveth mankind.

The Epistle

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He hath regarded the humility of His servant.
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (7:17-17)
Brethren, it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. Here tithes are received by mortal men; there, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”


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