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Monday, October 26, 2020

Some More Liturgical Background on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord (Presentation)

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The Meeting of our Lord (2 February).  This festival, known in the west as the Presentation of Christ in the Temple or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the east bears the title ‘Meeting’ (Gk. ῾Υπαπαντή; Slavonic, Srétenie) – the meeting, that is, of Christ with His people.  Our Lord, brought to the temple by His Mother and by Joseph, now meets His chosen people in the persons of Simeon the Elder and Anna the Prophetess.  This feast forms the conclusion of the Nativity sequence, which opened some eighty days earlier with the beginning of the Christmas fast.

 

At the Meeting, as at Christmas and Theophany, the Church thinks about the kenosis, the deep self-emptying of the Incarnate Word.  He who is Giver of the Law is Himself obedient to the Law: ‘Today He who once gave the Law to Moses on Sinai submits Himself to the ordinances of the Law, in His compassion becoming for our sakes as we are’ (Vespers, Lity).  The texts for this days are based for the most part upon Simeon’s Song, Nunc Dimittis: they speak of the salvation that Christ has come to confer, of the glory and light of revelation that have been granted through His Incarnation.

 

– From The Festal Menaion, translated from the original Greek by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press: South Canaan, PA, 1998.

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