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The Holy Meeting (Hypapante) of Our Lord Jesus Christ, From The Synaxarion – Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Υπαπαντὴ του Κυρίου_Presentation of Jesus at the Temple_Сретение Господне_Întâmpinarea Domnului_2g0xU--pmtAThe Meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple
Icon of the Mother of God “Softener (or “Consoler”) of Evil Hearts” or “Prophecy of Symeon”

Commemorated on 2 February

Synaxarion
The Second day of February

On the 2nd of the month, we keep the feast of the Holy MEETING (HYPAPANTE) of Our Lord, God and Saviour JESUS CHRIST

When the forty days prescribed by the law of Moses for the purification of the mother of a newborn son were accomplished (Lev. 12;2-4), the All-Holy Mother of God and Saint Joseph brought the Child Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. For every first-born, belonging by right to the Lord (Ex. 13:150, had to be consecrated to Him in the Temple and be, in a way, exchanged for the offering in sacrifice of yearling lamb or, for poor families, of two turtle-doves or two pigeons (Lev. 12:8). The Lord of heaven and earth, and Lawgiver of His people Israel, comes not to destroy the Law but to fulfil it (Matt. 5:17). Having taken upon Himself our nature, moral since Adam’s disobedience, He restores it from the moment of His coming into the world by making Himself obedient to all the ordinances of the Law. Source of all riches and of all graces, He makes Himself the humblest and poorest of us all. He is obedient to the Law, which He has given us and which we men never cease to transgress, showing us thereby that the way to reconciliation with God is obedience. Although neither He nor His spotless Mother had need of purification, after submitting His flesh to circumcision on the eighth day (cf. 1 Jan.), He waited in the cave at Bethlehem for the time required by the Law to elapse before presenting in the Temple of His glory the body, which He has taken upon Himself to become the new perfect Temple of His divinity. He, the inaccessible and incomprehensible God, accepted to be received in exchange for the offering of turtle-doves and pigeons, symbols of the purity, peace and innocence which the Saviour, the Friend of man, has come to bring us.

Υπαπαντή του Κυρίου_Presentation of Jesus at the Temple_Сретение Господне_Întâmpinarea Domnului_intampinarea_domnuluiOn reaching the Temple, they are said to have been greeted by the high priest Zacharias, the father of Saint John the Baptist who, against all precedent, directed the Mother of God to the place set apart for virgins (These details concerning the high priest Zacharias are not in St. Luke’s Gospel, but have been taken from the synaxaria from the apocryphal tradition). At that moment, there arrived in the Temple a man named Symeon. He was just and devout, keeping all the commandments of god, and had waited many years for the fulfilment of the prophecy that the Holy Spirit had inspired in him; namely, that he should not die before he had seen and touched Christ the Lord. Symeon, who typifies the whole expectation of Israel, then stretched out his arms to receive the Saviour as on a cherubic throne, and he blessed God and said: Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation (Luke 2:29). The first Covenant and the Old Law, which are fading away at the appearance of Christ, in the prayer of Symeon beg leave to withdraw at the coming of the Light of Grace. This aged man, seeing and touching the Saviour, so long awaited by the Righteous and the Prophets, was able to ask God in all confidence to be freed from the bonds of the flesh and of corruption, in order to give place to the everlasting youth of the Church. He thus proclaimed the doing away of types and figures; and he delivered the final prophecy concerning the Saviour in foretelling to His Mother that His Passion and Life-giving Resurrection will be a sign of contradiction, and that they will be for the fall of the unrighteous and for the rise of those who believe in Him.
A woman named 
Anna, an aged widow of the tribe of Asher, also came up to the Child and began to praise God. She was well-known to everyone who frequented the Temple, for she served God there continually, awaiting the coming of the Messiah in fasting and prayer. She too gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of the Child to all those who were looking for the redemption of Israel.

Having heard these revelations, the Pharisees present went off to inform King Herod, for they were infuriated at seeing Mary placed among the virgins by the High Priest. Herod realized that this Child must be the new King spoken of by the Magi who had followed the star from the East, and he immediately sent soldiers to kill Him. But warned in time, Joseph and Mary fled from the city and sought refuge in Egypt guided by an Angel of God. According to tradition, two and a half years were to pass before their return to Nazareth in Galilee. There the Divine-Child quietly grew up until the time was ripe for His ministry in the world.

The feast of the holy Meeting of the Lord – which is known in the West as the Purification of the Mother of God or Candlemas Day – was observed in Jerusalem from the fourth century. It was brought to Constantinople by the Emperor Justinian in 542, and has since been numbered among the feasts of the Lord (Although a feast of the Lord, the Meeting retains the character and liturgical observances of a feast of the Mother of God. Thus if it falls on a Sunday the service of the Resurrection is retained, while if it falls on a fast day -Wednesday and Friday- fish is permitted).

-From The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Volume 3: January, February by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, translated from the French by Christopher Hookway, Holy Convent of The Annunciation of Our Lady Ormylia (Chalkidike), 2001.

***

The Meeting of the Lord*
Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Υπαπαντὴ του Κυρίου_Presentation of Jesus at the Temple_Сретение Господне_Paintings_in_St._Demetrius_Church_(Markova_Sušica)_0312Forty days after Christmas, parishes of the Orthodox Church celebrate the Meeting of the Lord. Since it usually falls on a weekday, this feast is half-forgotten, but nonetheless this is when the Church completes “the time of Christmas,” revealing and recapitulating the full meaning of Christmas in stream of pure and profound joy. The feast and contemplates an event recorded in the gospel of Saint Luke. Forty days after the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary, keeping to the religious practice of that time, “brought the child to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord as it is written in the law of the Lord…” (Lk 2:22, 23).

The gospel continues, Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout…and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” And his father and his mother marvelled at what vas said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many may hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2:26-35)

How striking and beautiful an image, the old man holding the child in his arms, and how strange are his words: “For my eyes have seen thy salvation…” Pondering these words we begin to appreciate the depth of this event and its relationship to us, to me, to our faith. Is anything in the world more joyful than an encounter, a “meeting” with someone you love? Truly, to live is to await, to look forward to the encounter. Isn’t Simeon’s transcendent and beautiful anticipation a symbol of this? Isn’t his long life a symbol of expectation, this elderly man who spends his whole life waiting for the light which illumines all and the joy, which fills everything with itself? And how unexpected, how unspeakably good that the long-awaited light and joy comes to the elderly Simeon through a child! Imagine the old man’s trembling hands as he takes in his arms the forty-day-old infant so tenderly and carefully, his eyes gazing on the tiny being and filling with an outpouring of praise: “Now, You may let me depart in peace, for I have seen, I have held in my arms, I have embraced the very meaning of life.” Simeon waited. He waited his entire long life, and surely this means he pondered, he prayed, he deepened as he waited, so that in the end his whole life was one continuous “eve” of a joyful meeting. Isn’t it time that we ask ourselves, what am I waiting for? What does my heart keep reminding me about more and more insistently? Is this life of mine gradually being transformed into anticipation, as I look forward to encountering the essential? These are the questions the Meeting poses. Here, in this feast, human life is revealed as the surpassing 2 beauty of a maturing soul, increasingly liberated, deepened and” cleansed of all that is petty, meaningless and incidental. Even aging and demise, the earthly destiny we all share, are so simply and convincingly shown here to be growth and ascent toward that one moment when with all my heart, in the fulness of thanksgiving, I say: “let me now depart.” I have seen the light which permeates the world. I have seen the Child, who brings the world so much divine love and who gives himself to me. Nothing is feared, nothing is unknown, all is now peace, thanksgiving and love. This is what the Meeting of the Lord brings. It celebrates the soul meeting Love, meeting the one Who gave me life and gave me strength to transfigure it into anticipation.
*Fr. Alexander wrote this sermon just two weeks before his death.
Taken from the book, “Celebration of Faith – Sermons, Vol. 2 The Church Year” By Fr. Alexander SchmemannΥπαπαντή_Χριστός_Παναγία_6018c-ypapadi-capella-palatina23Orthodox Celebration of the Feast of the Presentation
This Feast of our Lord is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is conducted on the day of the Feast and preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: at Great Vespers – extracts from Exodus 12:15-13:16; Leviticus 12 and Numbers 8; Isaiah 6:1-12, and 19:1,3-5,12,16,19-21; at Matins – Luke 2:25-32; at the Divine Liturgy –Hebrews 7:7-17 and Luke 2:22-40.

The Icon that Myrrh-Streaming and heals hearts, Icon of the Mother of God “The Softening of Evil Hearts”
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/the-icon-that-myrrh-streaming-and-heals-hearts-icon-of-the-mother-of-god-the-softening-of-evil-hearts/

The Presentation and the Crucifixion, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of Sourozh
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/the-presentation-and-the-crucifixion-metropolitan-anthony-bloom-of-sourozh/

Hymn for the Presentation of Our Lord

Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from thee hath risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice thou also, O righteous Elder, as thou receivest in thine arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who also granteth unto us the Resurrection.

Megalynarion

Theotokos, as the hope of us Christians one and all, guard and shelter and protect those who put their hope in you. O believers, come let us perceive a type in the law, and the shadow and the letter. Every male that opens the womb shall be holy to God. So the unoriginate Father’s first-born Logos and Son who is the firstborn of the Mother who knew not man, we magnify.

 

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