Gospel according to St. Luke 2:28–35

Then took [Symeon Jesus] up into his arms, and blessed God, and said, "Lord, now lettest though thy servant depart in peace, according to your word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. And Symeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Synaxarion of the Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis: 2 January

Hail, favored one, virgin Theotokos, for from you Christ our God rose, enlightening those in darkness. You too, righteous old man, be glad, having received in your arms the one who sets our souls free and grants us resurrection."Synaxarion of the Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis, 1:505.

Gregory of Corinth: Epigrams on the Twelve Feasts


The second of February celebrates three related events. The first is the Purification of the Virgin; Jewish law (Lev. 12:2–8) mandated a period of forty days for ritual purification following the birth of a male child. It was for this reason that it was included as one of the five Marian Great Feasts. Purified, the Virgin is now able to bring her son to the temple, according to custom (see also Presentation of the Virgin); thus the second event: the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Finally, at the Presentation occurred the meeting (Hypapante) between the infant Christ and the old man, Symeon, which the seals here portray. Byzantine art depicts this as a theophanic recognition of Christ's divinity. ODB, 2:961–2

The appearance of the Hypapante on seals is straightforward, but exceedingly rare. The Virgin, on the viewer's left, holds the infant Christ before her. Symeon, on the right, reaches out towards the child. Seals, in fact, retain an older, pre-Iconoclasm arrangement of the figures than do other media; following the restoration of icons, Symeon, not the Virgin, holds the child Christ.Maguire, "The Iconography of Symeon with the Christ Child in Byzantine Art," 261–9. Of the three seals with the Hypapante, one comes from each of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries. The first example shown here is particularly interesting for two reasons. First, it includes, above the scene, a medallion containing the archangel Michael, holding a jeweled scepter over his right shoulder. Second, it belongs to Symeon Metaphrastes, protospatharios and grand chartoularios of the stratiotikon logothesion. The selection of the scene is, in part, due to homonymity, while the inclusion of Michael reflects Symeon's high position in the military administration, particularly in provisioning and equipping the army.Cotsonis, "Narrative Scenes on Byzantine Lead Seals," 64.


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