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The Meeting of Christ in the Temple

An icon of the Meeting of Christ in the Temple.

THE ICON

St. Joseph - on the extreme left; an elderly man with white hair and beard.

St. Anna the Prophetess - is second on the left; an elderly woman.

The Theotokos - is in the center. Christ -as an infant in the arms of St. Simeon

St. Simeon the God-Receiver - is on the right; an elderly man with white hair and beard.

The Center Gates - indicate the entrance to the Holy of Holies, the most sacred section of the Temple.

THE FEAST

Forty days after Christ was born He was presented to God in the Jerusalem Temple according to the Law of Moses. At this time as well, His mother Mary underwent the ritual purification, and offered the sacrifice as prescribed in the Law (Leviticus 12). It is at the Temple that the elder Simeon and the prophetess Anna, filled with the Holy Spirit, confirmed that the infant was the newborn Messiah Who would "cause the fall and the rising of many in Israel."

In the service of the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord, the fact emphasized is that Christ, the Son and Word of God, through whom the world was created, now is held as an infant in Simeon's hands; this same Son of God, the Giver of the Law, now Himself fulfills the Law, carried in arms as a human child.

The celebration of the Meeting of the Lord in the Church is not merely an historical commemoration. Inspired by the same Holy Spirit as Simeon, and led by the same Spirit into the Church of the Messiah, the members of the Church also can claim their own "meeting" with the Lord, and so also can witness that they, too, can "depart in peace" since their eyes have seen the salvation of God in the person of His Christ. (Taken from Worship, The Orthodox Faith, Vol. II, by Fr. Thomas Hopko)

TROPARION

REJOICE, VIRGIN THEOTOKOS, FULL OF GRACE! FROM YOU SHONE THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, CHRIST OUR GOD, ENLIGHTENING THOSE WHO SAT IN DARKNESS! REJOICE AND BE GLAD, RIGHTEOUS ELDER; YOU ACCEPTED IN YOUR ARMS THE REDEEMER OF OUR SOULS, WHO GRANTS US THE RESURRECTION.

KONTAKION

BY YOUR NATIVITY, YOU SANCTIFIED THE VIRGIN'S WOMB AND BLESSED SIMEON'S HANDS, O CHRIST GOD. NOW YOU HAVE COME AND SAVED US THROUGH LOVE. GRANT PEACE TO ALL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, ONLY LOVER OF MANKIND!