On the 2nd of February Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates the Meeting of Our Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST in the Temple

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


On the 2nd of February Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the Meeting of Our Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST
in the Temple.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. First Tone

REJOICE, thou who art full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from
thee hath risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ Our God, enlight-
ening 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.

Kontakion Hymn. First Tone

THOU Who didst sanctify the Virgin’s womb by Thy birth, and didst
bless Symeon’s hands as was meet, by anticipation, has even now
saved us, O Christ God. But grant peace in the midst of wars unto
Thy commonwealth and strengthen the hierarchs whom Thou hast
loved, O only Friend of man.


The Meeting of Our Lord in the Temple is celebrated today, FORTY DAYS AFTER His incarnation in the flesh. “Sanctify to Me every firstborn, first produced, opening every womb among the children of Israel both of man and beast: It is Mine” [Exodos 13:2]. At first appearance, this verse seems to imply that all firstborn are holy and dedicated to God, yet it was only truly fulfilled in the Person of Christ. For many firstborn sons of women were neither holy nor dedicated to God. We need only to remember Cain who murdered his younger brother [Genesis 4:8], or Esau who sold his birthright for a platter of lentils, and who was called “Edom” for his unbridled passion [Genesis 25:30-34], or Reuben who defiled his father Jacob’s bed [Genesis 49:4).

   According to the law of Moses, it is written:  “The firstborn of your sons ye shall give unto Me.  If a woman has conceived seed, and born a man child, in the 8th day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised…And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest…”.
   “And when the days of THEIR PURIFICATION according to the law of 
Moses were fulfilled, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to
the Lord” [Luke 2:22].

The King James Version of the Holy Bible erroneously translated the verse to read “THE DAYS OF HER PURIFICATION.” The Patristic texts of the Holy Gospel writes thus: “THE DAYS FOR THEIR PURIFICATION” or (του καθαρισμού αυτών), that is, of the Jews; BECAUSE THE THEOTOKOS HAD NO NEED OF PURIFICATION.

Our Holy Church appointed this great feast of the Lord and the Mother of God to be celebrated on the 2nd of February because it is the 40th day after the 25th of December when the Nativity of Christ in the flesh is celebrated. In this way, the year is divided by the turning points in the Divine Economy and blesses them. At the same time, it makes it possible for man to be initiated into the Great Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son and Logos/Word of God.

God Himself, that is, to say the UNINCARNATE LOGOS/WORD OF GOD, gave the Commandment of purification on the 40th day to Moses and it had been established for all the Israelites. This Commandment was given to Moses even before the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt before they crossed the Red Sea.

The offering was A SIGN OF RECOGNITION OF GOD’S BENEFICENCE and showed that they belong to Him. It is well known that the commandment to dedicate the first-born male child was given to the people of Israel, through Moses, directly after the killing of the first-born children of the Egyptians, when Pharoah at once gave permission for the exodus before they crossed the Red Sea. The explanation of this act is characteristic: “for with a strong hand, the Lord has brought you out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:9).

Since the Logos/Word of God Himself gave the law to Moses, when He assumed human flesh He had to keep the law, so as not to be a law-breaker. Saint Cyril of Alexandria says that when anyone sees Christ keeping the law, he should not be shocked, nor should he regard as a servant Him, Who is free, but he should have a better understanding of “the depth of the economy”. This keeping of the law of the offering in the Temple is part of they mystery of the Divine KENOSIS of the Son and Logos/Word of God.

Likewise, according to Saint Gregory Palamas, Christ HAD NO NEED OF PURIFICATION, but since ritual purification was legislated in the Old Testament for both the parents and the children, He did it IN ORDER TO OBEY THE LAW WHICH HE HIMSELF HAD GIVEN. Christ had no need for purification, BECAUSE HE WAS CONCEIVED WITHOUT SEED AND GIVEN BIRTH WITHOUT LOSS OF VIRGINITY. “There was certainly no need for purification, but it was AN ACT OF OBEDIENCE.” This obedience had the meaning of OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW OF GOD, BUT ALSO OF OBEDIENCE OF THE NEW ADAM, IN CONTRAST TO THE DISOBEDIENCE OF OLD ADAM. And if the disobedience of the first Adam resulted in the Fall and corruption, THE OBEDIENCE OF THE NEW ADAM, CHRIST, BROUGHT DISOBEDIENT HUMAN NATURE BACK TO GOD AND CURED MAN OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DISOBEDIENCE.

One of the most important and central points in the Meeting, apart, of course, from Christ and the Panagia (All-Holy Mother of God), was Symeon, “the righteous and devout”, who was granted to welcome Christ, to take Him in his arms and TO RECOGNIZE Him by THE POWER AND ENERGY OF THE Holy Spirit. In fact, he is a great personality both in that he saw Christ and in what he said at that moment.

The name SYMEON corresponds to his life and expectation, but also to God’s REVELATION TO HIM because in the Hebrew language, the word Symeon is interpreted AS OBEDIENCE (Saint Niceta) or as “WHOM THE LORD HEARD” (Saint John Chrysostomos). The Evangelist Luke characterizes him as a man who lived in Jerusalem and was just and devout, “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” At the same time, he says that he had the Holy Spirit and that he had been informed that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:25-26). All these signs are characteristic of an inspired man. This is why Holy Scripture is not interested in man’s origin and the elements of his human make-up because he had another life, a life of the spirit.

When the Righteous Symeon had come to the Sanctuary, he RECOGNIZED THE Son and Logos/Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. At aht time he was granted to see THE INCARNATION OF THE Logos/Word of God which all the Prophets had seen prophetically. As Saint Basil the Great says, Symeon and Anna saw the Divine power which was in Christ “LIKE A LIGHT THROUGH GLASSY MEMBRANES THROUGH THE HUMAN BODY.” Just as we see through the window the light that is in the house, or just as we see through glass lamps the light that is there, so also THE PURE IN HEART SEE THROUGH THE Body of Christ the Light of Divinity which IS UNKNOWN AND INVISIBLE TO OTHERS.

The Godman Christ IS THE FALL OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN HIM AND THE RISING OF THOSE WHO DO. Golgotha is an example, one thief believes AND IS SAVED, and the other doubts AND IS CONDEMNED. This happens also IN OUR INNER LIFE. Christ falls when we, the baptized, fall through prostitution, and He is raised through our prudence. Likewise, it can be understood that Christ will suffer and fall in death, but also many will be raised through His own fall and His own death (Saint Theophylaktos).

Saint Symeon’s second prophecy, which referred to the Panagia, is as follows: “Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35). Apparently, this prophecy refers TO THE PAIN AND SORROW OF THE THEOTOKOS ABOUT THE Cross, when she saw her Son, Who is the Son of God at the same time, suffering and enduring. Though the Panagia did not endure or suffer pain during the birth of Christ, precisely because SHE CONCEIVED Him WITHOUT SEED AND GAVE BIRTH WITHOUT CORRUPTION, SHE HAD TO SUFFER VERY MUCH AT THE TIME OF His departure.

This was the very sword that would pierce the soul of the Theotokos at Christ’s death on the Cross and would reveal the thoughts of many men which were hidden in their hearts. From the pain which she felt they understood that this was His natural mother.

This reminds us of the case of the two women in the Old Testament who claimed a baby and appeared before Solomon to resolve their difference. Solomon asked for a sword to divide it and give a part to each woman. Then one of them begged him not to kill it, but to give it whole to the other. And the other asked him to kill it so that neither of them should take it. The king gave the child to the one who preferred that the child should live even if the other woman took it. This was proof that she was the natural mother. (1 Kings 3:16-28).

In the same way the Panagia’s sorrow at the Cross showed that she was THE REAL MOTHER, THAT IT WAS FROM HER THAT THE LORD TOOK FLESH. For since the Panagia is the real mother, it means that Christ also HAS A REAL BODY AND IS NOT A FANTASY.

The feast of the Meeting of Christ is not simply a feast referring only to Christ the Lord and pointing to one of the stages of the Divine Economy, but IT IS ALSO A FEAST OF THE PERSON WHO LIVES IN CHRIST.

The Church made the feast of Christ’s Fortieth Day also a ceremony, a service for the fortieth day after everyone’s birth. On the 40th day after birth, the infant is offered to the Temple by its mother. This offering has a double meaning. First, the mother IS BLESSED FOR THE END OF HER PURIFICATION AFTER THE BLEEDING OF HER CONFINEMENT. Just as the Church prays for every illness, so also it prays FOR THE WOMAN WHO HAS GIVEN BIRTH AND NATURALLY FEELS TIRED AND PHYSICALLY WEAK. IT PRAYS FOR HER PURIFICATION AND BECAUSE, AS WE KNOW TODAY, THE MANNER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE BIRTH OF A CHILD. Since the conception and birth OF A HUMAN BEING is not a work of nature alone, but of God’s energy, we feel that it belongs to God. So we offer it to God and He, through the priest, GIVES IT OVER TO US AGAIN TO BRING IT UP. BUT IN REALITY, IT BELONGS TO GOD. [Personal comment.  Think about how evil abortion is in the eyes of God.  Think also about His Divine Judgment on those who are involved in the murder of an infant, i.e., the mother, the father, the doctor, church officials, and the local and national authorities who approve and advocate the abortion (the killing) of this human being.)  ALL CHILDREN BELONG TO GOD and He has not given anyone the right to kill one of His beloved children.  Divine Justice is final and those who commit this horrific crime are accountable directly to the DIVINE JUDGE.

[Source: The Feasts of the Lord.  An introduction to the Twelve Feasts and Orthodox Christology by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS]

(To be continued)


“Glory Be To GOD
All Things!”

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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