The Lord's Birth - what is this?
In the Orthodox, as well as in the Catholic, Christian culture, there are many festivals that are of great importance for believers. One of them is the Presentation of the Lord. On this day, a biblical event known to many people is recalled. Therefore the question: "The Lord's birth - what a feast?" - definitely deserves attention.
In the Russian-speaking Orthodox culture, for many years already, on February 15, the Presentation of the Lord is celebrated. This holiday is rooted in the traditions of Western and Eastern countries (IV-V c). It was then that the Presentation of the Lord became one of the twelve key dates that were included in the Orthodox calendar. On this special day, all those who have faith in Christ remember with reverence those events that the evangelist Luke once described. It is a special meeting between the baby Jesus and the righteous Simeon.
What does the Presentation of the Lord
In fact, the very word "meeting" can be translated as "meeting". As for the story, which was the reason for the holiday, it began almost 2,000 years ago, when the Virgin Mary came to the Temple of Jerusalem with a little Jesus. The future Savior of the world at that time was only forty days old. According to the law of Moses, a woman who gave birth to a male child had to come to the Temple and bring a purifying and grateful sacrifice there. This is exactly what Maria did. Although the fact that she conceived a child from the Holy Spirit, relieved her of the need to make a sacrifice of purification.
It so happened that in Jerusalem at that time there lived the elder Simeon, who received from Gd the following revelation: he will not leave this mortal land until he sees the Savior of the world. Inspired by the Heavenly Father, Simeon came to the Temple exactly when Mary was there with the baby Jesus. Seeing the little Christ, the righteous elder took Him to his hands and proclaimed that his eyes saw salvation from God.
Therefore, when answering the question: "The Lord's meeting - what is this?" - it is worth talking about the meeting of the God-child and righteous Simeon in the temple of Jerusalem. Another meaning of the word "meeting" is "joy", the cause of which is the salvation brought to our world by Christ.
Importance of meeting
To those who are not versed in Christianity, it may seem a little strange that the meeting of Simeon and the baby Jesus is so important. In fact, so much attention paid by believers to the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord is more than logical.
The bottom line is that almost all the Old Testament prophets were waiting for the coming of the Messiah - God's Anointed One, who will liberate his people. And therefore the meeting of Simeon with the born Christ is nothing but the fulfillment of a prophecy in which many of the men and wives of God who lived in the Old Testament believed.
More on Simeon the Theophany
Trying to understand the question of what the Lord's Savior is-what a feast and what is its value, it is worth paying more attention to one of the key figures of the biblical story associated with this date (February 15). If you turn to the legend, you can find out that the elder met Simeon, who met Mary in the Temple, was 360 years old. His name means nothing but "hearing." Moreover, he is considered one of the 72 scribes who received from the Egyptian king Ptolemy II the command to translate the scriptures from Hebrew into Greek.
It was during the translation work that Simeon read the prophecy, in which it was said that the virgin would bear a son - the Savior of the world. The Israeli prophet wanted to change the word "virgin" (virgin) to "wife" (woman), but the angel who appeared to him did not allow it. After listening to the heavenly messenger, Simeon received from him a promise that he himself would be able to see the prophecy fulfilled.
The Day of the Meeting of the Lord became for the prophet the embodiment of the promised angel.
Anna the prophetess
In the Bible there is one more character that relates to a famous holiday. It's about Anna the prophetess. Finding out what the holiday of the Lord is meant for, it is also important to pay attention. On the day when the baby Jesus was brought to the Temple, a widow came to his mother - the Virgin Mary - who at that time was already 84 years old.
She often voiced to the townspeople wise speeches about God, for which she was called Anna the prophetess. It was this woman, coming to the little Christ, bowed to him and, leaving the temple, began to tell the inhabitants of the city that the Messiah came, who will deliver Israel.
Historical evidence of the worship of the feast of the Meeting of the Lord
If you study the manuscripts left over from past generations, you can find an interesting fact. Its essence boils down to the fact that in the 4th century the western pilgrimage of Esteria wrote the work "Pilgrimage to holy places". This is in fact the oldest historically reliable evidence that the Lord's Savior had a church-liturgical celebration in the Christian East. However, the Esterian manuscript does not give the holiday its own liturgical title, defining it as the fortieth day from the Epiphany. But the very process of celebration, held in honor of the Meeting, is described more than emotionally.
But the second monument, which gives the holiday a special liturgical character, has its roots in Jerusalem. It's about the Armenian lectionary. It was in it that the fact of liturgical and statutory practice of the beginning of the fifth century was witnessed. On the basis of this information, one can draw an obvious conclusion: in the 4th-5th centuries the Lord's Creation was defined in the Jerusalem church as a holiday honored precisely in this locality.
If we consider the question: "The Lord's meeting - what is this?" - exclusively in the national format, it will be possible to notice an interesting fact: this holiday is a symbol of the meeting of winter and spring. In connection with this, many signs have appeared.
The first thing that can be attributed to the signs, which pay attention on February 15 - is the weather. According to the beliefs, if this day is warm and sunny, then it is worth waiting for early spring. Even on such a holiday as the Savior of the Lord, signs relating to the weather can indicate a persistent frost, if on the night of February 15 there will be a clear sky on which stars can not be seen. But in the case of the starry sky, there is every reason to expect a quick spring.
As for health, here you need to pay attention to the candle lit during the holiday: if the fire is smooth and almost does not move, then the problems with the physical state are not expected, but when the flame turns blue and wavers, it makes sense to prepare for the fight against disease.
On such a holiday as the Savior of the Lord, the signs touch on the road. It is believed that if on that day a person goes on a journey, he will not return home soon. This statement is explained by the fact that on February 15 the weather is unpredictable, maybe everything from heavy rains to heavy snow. Such precipitation, of course, greatly complicates the movement.
The Presentation of the Lord: Traditions
It is generally believed that if you feed the living creature from the heart, it will grow rapidly and give a good offspring. Also, the Feast of the Lord celebrated on February 15 helps to predict the abundance of the harvest: the morning snowfall on this day is a sign to the abundant harvest of the early loaves, and the daytime snow predicts a successful sowing of the medium.
On this day, usually the seeds were prepared for sowing, they drove the living creatures out of the crib into the pen and examined the harness. There was also a tradition among the people to use water from the snow that fell on the Day of Meeting, because it was believed that it is able to heal from various diseases.
The water flowing off the roofs during the holiday was also of great importance. It was used for baking cakes, which were then given to those who suffered from any disease.
Features of the celebration
For a full answer to the question: "The meeting of the Lord - what is this?" - it is necessary to study the peculiarity of holding this holiday. An interesting fact is that most of the services in the church are focused on the identity of the Virgin. From ancient religious traditions to the present time, several Orthodox rituals, not lost their relevance.
First of all, there is a consecration of water and candles directly in the church itself. This is connected with another belief: if during a thunderstorm a consecrated candle is placed in front of an icon, it will protect the house from a lightning strike. Finding out what the Presentation of the Lord means, one can not ignore the vivid traditions of celebration, during which very beautiful liturgical texts sound. They reveal the essence of the speech of the Prophet Simeon, as well as the honor given to him to see the baby Jesus. As for the duration of the celebration, the Lord's Sacrament lasts 8 days: from 14 (pre-celebration) to February 22 (holiday celebration).
Analyzing the question: "The meeting of the Lord - what is this?" - in the format of the Catholic tradition, it is worth noting a thorough approach to the celebration. On this day in churches, priests are dressed in white clothes and, before starting the solemn mass, conduct a bright procession with candles, and perform a rite of blessing. All who came to the temple sing songs in which the words of Simeon spoken to the God-given are transferred, and the priests, after performing the rite, are sprinkled with holy water by singing.
For many believers this holiday is significant enough to prepare congratulations. The meeting of the Lord is in fact a veneration of the coming of the Savior, so many poems and skits on this day speak of a new life, joy and spring that animates everything around.
Iconography of Meeting
A significant holiday for Christians - the day of the meeting of Simeon and little Jesus - inspired artists to create many icons and frescoes. They all describe the moment when the Virgin Mary hands her son to the elder.
The icon "The Presentation of the Lord" depicts Joseph the Betrothed who is behind the Mother of God and carries either in a cage or in the hands of two or sometimes three pigeons. Anna the prophetess is also depicted on the icon behind Simeon's back.
It is also interesting that the icon "The Savior of the Lord" either has as its background the foot of the temple, or depicts the meeting of the Elder and the Bogomiladz near the throne. And on images written at a later time, sometimes depicts the torments of hell and the future salvation (located at the bottom).
Meaning of the icon "Softening the Evil Hearts"
There is another icon that has a direct bearing on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. It is called "Simeon Proverb" or "Softening of Evil Hearts". This icon depicts the moment when the Israeli husband prophesies to the Theotokos that Her very weapon will pass the soul. The Virgin Mary is standing on a cloud with seven swords that pierced her heart: three on the left, three on the right and one from below. The number of swords is explained by the fact that the number 7 characterizes the completeness, in this case - of suffering, heartache and sadness.
In general, if we consider what the holiday of the Lord's Day means, we can conclude that it has a significant impact on the Orthodox and Catholic Christian culture. This day also carries a tangible spiritual significance, as it symbolizes the meeting of the two covenants: the Old, the prototype of which is Simeon, and the New, brought by the Savior.