Select hymns and prayers from the Antiochian Church’s Festal Orthros on the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (February 2)
From the Kathismata of the Presentation:
Let the ranks of angels be astonished with wonder, and let us raise our voices in praise, as we behold the ineffable condescension, the condescension of God; for He before Whom the powers of heaven tremble is carried today in the arms of the elder, and He alone is the Lover of mankind.
He that is with the Father on the holy throne, came down to earth, was born of the Virgin, became a babe for my sake; and is unbounded in time.
From the Kontakion and Oikos for the Presentation:
Let us hasten to the Theotokos, we who wish to see her Son brought unto Simeon. When the incorporeal powers looked on Him out of heaven, they were astonished, saying: Now do we see strange and wondrous things, incomprehensible and inexpressible. He Who made Adam is carried as a babe; the Uncontainable is held in the arms of the elder; he Who abideth uncircumscribed in the bosom of His Father is willingly circumscribed in the flesh, but not in His Godhead, and he alone is the Love of mankind.”
On February 2 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we celebrate the Meeting (Presentation) of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple, wherein the righteous Simeon received Him into his arms.
Verses: The hands of righteous Simeon, as they bear Thee, depict, O my Christ, the bosom of Thy Father. On the second, Simeon received Christ in the Temple.
The Greek word for the feast is “Hypapante” [ee-pah-pan-DEE] which means “Encounter” or “Meeting.” However, this was not just some chance encounter. This feast, which closes the cycle of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, reminds us that on the fortieth day after the birth of her first-born Son, Mary carried Him to the Temple in accordance with the Mosaic Law to offer Him to the Lord, and to ransom Him by the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons (Luke 2:22-3). In one of many acts of extreme humility, the divine Word thus lowers Himself and submits to the law in order to fulfill it. This lowering is also Jesus’ first official encounter with His people in the person of Simeon. It is not only an encounter, but also a manifestation. Simeon bears in his arms the One he knows to be the Salvation of the world, “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” His endearing prayer, as found in the Gospel of Luke, endures in the Orthodox Church to this day. The Church considers this celebration as a Feast of the Theotokos in praise of her role in this Presentation, and her connection in the work of her Son. “Adorn thy chamber, O Zion, and receive Christ the King. Welcome Mary the heavenly gate; for she hath appeared as a cherubic throne; she carrieth the King of glory” (Aposticha of Great Vespers). The Virgin today accompanies the Child in His first offering to the Father; she will also accompany Him even to the realization of His sacrifice for humanity.
Unto the very God be glory and dominion unto the ages. Amen.
Ninth Ode of Canon of Presentation of Christ in Tone Three [with 16 short verses and 4 refrains]:
1. That which came to pass in thee we in no wise comprehend, not the Angels, nor we men, O thous Virgin Mother pure.
8. Thou, O Maiden Mariam, art in truth the mystic tongs, who within thy blessed womb hast conceived the Ember, Christ.
Of old they offered a pair of turtle doves and a pair of pigeons. But instead of them the divine old man and Anna the pure prophetess were offered to Him Who was born of the Virgin, Who was offered in the Temple, Who is the Son of God. Wherefore, they served him magnifying.