February 2/February 15
Holy Scripture Accounts
Vespers (Eve of the Feast)
- Exodus 12:15-13:16
- Leviticus 12
- Numbers 8
- Isaiah 6:1-12; 19:1, 3-5, 12, 16, 19-21
- Luke 2:25-32
The Epistle (from feast day Liturgy)
“Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies:
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’”
– Hebrews 7:7-17
The Gospel (from feast day Liturgy)
“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit 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 You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
– Luke 2:22-40
Troparion (Tone 1)
Rejoice, O 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, O righteous elder;
You accepted in your arms the Redeemer of our souls,
Who grants us the Resurrection.
Kontakion (Tone 1)
By Your nativity, You did sanctify the Virgin’s womb,
And did bless Simeon’s hands, O Christ God.
Now You have come and saved us through love.
Grant peace to all Orthodox Christians, O only Lover of man!
Teaching from the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple Icon
“Jesus the Messiah acting as our Lord and High Priest rather than a forty-day old infant, is blessing those who have gathered around Him in the temple. Offered on our behalf, He is the spotless Lamb at the altar, which is represented by the canopy.”
“Mary the Theotokos having just presented her Son to Simeon, extends her arms in a gesture of offering. She has given her whole being to God.”
“Simeon the God-Receiver recognizes this Baby as the Consolation of Israel and shows obeisance by bowing. His hands are covered as a sign of reverence.”
“Anna is identified as a prophetess by the scroll she holds. When the scroll is shown open, it often reads, ‘This Child made heaven and earth’. Along with Simeon, Anna represents the Old Covenant, and so she is fittingly depicted pointing toward Christ.”
“Joseph carries the two sacrificial turtledoves. Having overcome the doubt he struggled with at the Nativity, he – like us – follows the lead of the Theotokos into deeper union with God.”
“The Turtledoves are the blood offering of poor parents who can’t afford a spotless lamb for the redemption of a firstborn son. The two birds symbolize many pairings, such as Christ’s humanity and divinity, the Old Testament and the New Testament, Israel and the Gentiles.”
Quoted from: Heaven meets Earth: Celebrating Pascha and the Twelve Feasts (page 26), by John Kosmas Skinas
- The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple – Exploring the Feasts of the Orthodox Church
featured image source for this post found at https://iconreader.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/presentation-of-christ-temple-and-church/