Slava Gallery, LLC

Presentation of Christ

Image Description
The prominent feast day for the month of February in the Eastern Church is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The celebration of this ecclesiastical event is held on February 2nd of the church calendar, exactly forty days after the celebration of The Nativity of Christ. Precisely forty days after Christ’s birth, The Mother of God and St. Joseph brought Christ to the Temple of Jerusalem where he was taken up on the altar by Simeon and presented to God. According to the Jewish law of the times, parents brought their newborns to the Jewish temple in an act of dedicating the child to God. The icon illustrates the event of Christ’s Presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem in direct accordance to the biblical text of the feast day Luke 2: 22-29. The figures depicted in this icon may be distinguished into two groups; those individuals whose lives actively fulfill the prophecies of The Old Testament, and those individuals whose lives serve to bear witness to the fulfillment of those prophecies. Among the former group is Joseph, often seen carrying the sacrificial doves, the Christ Child, and The Mother of God, often illustrated with outstretched arms as she hands Christ to Simeon. The latter group consists of the elderly prophetess Anna and of Simeon, the witnesses of this event and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Holy Spirit had foretold to Simeon that Simeon would bear witness to The Son of God before he would be taken from this life to death. Luke 2: 22-29 credits Simeon with acknowledging the prophecy and the Word of God the Father at this event by saying “Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.”

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