Monday, February 18, 2013


I started this series some time ago and stopped after two so, at long last, I return to the task.  This is the third of the icons from the Dodekaorton, the twelve major events of Christ's life and  festivals of the Eastern Church that are featured on the iconostasis usually above the Deesis.  The Deesis is the icon of Christ enthroned with the Theotokos and St. John the Forerunner on either side.

This icon depicts the moment when the Theotokos and St. Joseph present the baby Christ in the Temple in Jerusalem.  St. Luke tells us:

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’
 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 
 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant* in peace,
   according to your word; 
 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 
   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 
 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.’
 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:22-38)
Rather than reproduce the work of another though I refer you to the interesting post at A Reader's Guide to Orthodox Icons.

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