Russian icon of the Meeting of the Lord, XIX century
Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 cm
The Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, one of the twelve major feast days, was established by the Church in memory of the meeting of the Child Jesus by the elder Simeon. On the fortieth day after the Nativity of Christ – the Most Holy Mother of God, following the Old Testament law, brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to God. The holy family is approached by a man named Simeon, who has been told by the Holy Spirit that he will not die until he has seen the messiah. Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God: “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” (Luke 2:28–32). Having seen the messiah, Simeon is now prepared to die. In the right part of the icon in the background of the Jerusalem temple, the elder Simeon holds the Infant Jesus above the throne. It is quite obvious that Simeon personifies the Old Testament, and Christ is the New Testament. In the left part the Most Holy Theotokos, the pious widow Anna the prophetess and Joseph the betrothed are depicted. The arms stretched forth from the Virgin, which tno longer holds Her Son, signify the loss that the Mother of God will suffer in the future, when the Lord will be judged and crucified on the cross.