Commemorated on February 3
the God-Receiver (Bogopriimets) was, according to the testimony of the holy
Evangelist Luke, one of the chosen of God in expectation of the consolation of
Israel, and the Holy Spirit dwelt upon him (Lk 2:25). It was announced to him
from God, that he would not die until that time, when the Promised Messiah –
Christ the Lord – would be come into the world.
relate that the Egyptian emperor Ptolemy II Philadelphos (285-247 BC) wished to
add to the famous Library at Alexandria with texts of Holy Scripture. He
invited scholars from Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin sent their wise men.
Righteous Simeon was also among the 72 scholars in Alexandria for the
translation of the Sacred Scriptures into the Greek language. (The work was
accomplished and received the title "Translation of the 72
Interpreters". With this also further on in the future, the New Testament
was translated into the Slavonic language for the Bulgarian, Serbian and
Russian Orthodox Churches.) Righteous Simeon translated a book of the Prophet
Isaiah, having read in the original the words: "Behold, a Virgin shalt
conceive and give birth to a Son" (Is 7: 14). He decided, that the word
"Virgin" was incorrectly used here in place of the word "Woman",
and he wanted to correct the text. At that moment an Angel appeared to him and
held back his hand saying: "Have faith in the words written down; thou
thyself shalt be persuaded that they will be fulfilled, whereof thou shalt not
taste of death until thou behold Christ the Lord, Who shall be born of a Pure
and Immaculate Virgin".
From this day
righteous Simeon began to await the coming of the Promised Messiah.
And here one day
righteous Simeon, knowing of it by the Holy Spirit, was come to the Jerusalem
Temple. It was on that very same day (the fortieth after the Birth of Christ),
when the All-Pure Virgin Mary and Her Betrothed Joseph had come there in order
to perform the ritual set down by Jewish Law – to present before the Lord His
Own Divine First-Born and to offer the established sacrifice.
When righteous Simeon
beheld their arrival, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the God-Infant Whom
the All-Pure Virgin Mary held, – was the Promised Messiah, the Saviour of the
world. The elder took into his arms the Infant Christ and pronounced his
prophetic words: "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart, O Lord, with peace
according to Thy word, wherefore hath mine eyes beheld Thy salvation, which
Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to the enlightening
of gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel". He blessed the All-Pure
Virgin and Righteous Joseph and, having turned to the Mother of God he said:
"Behold, This One is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel and
for the sign spoken against, and for Thee thyself a sword shalt pierce the
soul, so that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed" (Lk 2:
The holy Evangelist
relates further: "Here also was Anna the Prophetess, daughter of Phanuel
from the tribe of Aser, having reached extreme old age, having lived with her
husband for seven years, she was a widow for eighty-four years, who went not out
from the temple, serving God both day and night by fasting and prayer. And she
having approached at this time, glorified the Lord and prophesied about Him to
all awaiting deliverance at Jerusalem" (Lk 2: 36-38).
About the righteous
and holy Simeon the God-Receiver is known that he died in extreme old age. In
the VI Century his holy relics were transferred to Constantinople. In the year
1200 his grave was seen by the Russian pilgrim Saint Antonii, future archbishop
of Novgorod (1212-1220. +1232, Comm. 8 October).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.