Photos of the Day for February 28, 2015

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Candlemas, Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, Meeting of the Lord), part I/VIII.

Стрэчаньне Гасподняе (Грамніцы), частка І/VIII.

Candlemas, celebrated in Western churches on or about February 2 and in old-style Orthodox churches on February 15, is unusual in that it has both a Christic and a Marian focus.  The lighting of beeswax candles, symbolizing the light of both Christ and Mary, is an essential part of the rite in all Christian celebrations, regardless of confession.  Key Gospel readings connected with Candlemas include Matthew 5:17-19 (“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill…”) and Luke 2:29-32 (Simeon’s grateful words to the Lord — the Nunc dimittis).

The feast is one of the twelve great feasts in Eastern Orthodox churches.  In Belarus the Orthodox feast is called Strechan’nje (Стрэчаньне Гасподняе) or, in a more vernacular and pre-Christian way, Hramnitsy (Грамніцы). The feast marks the presentation of Christ in the temple, the end of the Old Testament period of  a woman’s post-partum purification, and the meeting of Christ and Simeon, to whom the Holy Ghost had said he would not die until he had beheld the Christ.  By popular, pre-Christian tradition the feast, falling as it does midway between the winter solstice and vernal equinox, also marks the meeting of winter and spring and the thunder often heard in pre-spring rainstorms at this time.

Candlemas light, Azdamichy 2015.  Царкоўнае асьвятленьне на Стрэчаньні, Аздамічы 2015 г.

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