The Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ

On the 2nd of February our holy church celebrates the feast of the Meeting of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.

When 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. 13:15), had to be consecrated to Him in the Temple and be, in a way, exchanged for the offering in sacrifice of a yearling lamb or, for poor families, of two turtle-doves or two pigeons (Lev. 12:8). Our Lord is obedient to the Law, which He has given us and which we men never cease to transgress, showing us there-by 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 He waited in the cave at Bethlehem for the time required by the Law to elapse before presenting Himself in the Temple. A man named Symeon, just and devout, keeping all the commandments of God had waited to die before he had seen and touched Christ the Lord. As he stretched out his arms to receive the Savior he blessed him 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). Anna, an aged widow also came up to the Child and began to praise God. 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 passed before they returned 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.

Source: The Synaxarion, Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra