|Sts. Symeon the God-receiver and Anna the Prophetess (Feast Day - February 3)|
The old man proclaimed to the dead, that he beheld as man,
God the Word, Who had come even to such a point.
Carried from the earth, was the daughter of Phanuel,
For on it, she saw God as a child.
On the third Symeon was released from the bonds of life.
Saint Symeon the God-receiver* received a long life of many years in this world. For it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death, until he beheld with his eyes the Master Christ. Therefore when our Lord was offered in the Temple as a forty day old infant, he received Him in his arms. And being informed by the Holy Spirit concerning His future, he received the end of his life, in accordance with the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
The Prophetess Anna was the daughter of Phanuel, and came from the tribe of Asher, one of the twelve Patriarchs and sons of Jacob. Having dwelt with a husband for seven years, and become widowed due to his death, from that time she remained in the Temple where she dwelt the rest of her life in prayer and fasting. Because she unceasingly was found to do God-pleasing works, the blessed one was made worthy to see our Lord Jesus Christ, when He was offered to the Temple as a forty day old infant, by His All-Holy Mother and the righteous Joseph. She thanked and glorified God, and openly prophesied concerning Christ to all those who were found in the Temple, saying these words: "This Child is He Who has authority, and established heaven and earth. This Child is the Christ, regarding Whom all of the prophets proclaimed beforehand."
We therefore celebrate the memory of these two today, proclaiming through them the awesome and ineffable condescension of God to us.
* Many say various things about Saint Symeon the God-receiver. Saint Joseph the Hymnographer says he was a priest, while Photios the Great says he was not a literal priest but a "priest on high". Others say he was one of the 70 translators of the Septuagint, but if this is true then he would have been more than 270 years old when he reposed, therefore many fathers dismiss this theory. Others say he was the brother of the Hebrew scholar Gamaliel, who is mentioned in Acts 5:4; 22:2. While others say he was the president of the Sanhedrin of the Jews. The Gospel merely says about him that he was a man driven by the Holy Spirit and is praised for receiving God. He probably died around the age of 112, and was neither a priest nor a pharisee. His relic was kept in the Church of Saint James the Brother of God in Constantinople, built by Emperor Justin.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
In the Temple thou didst embrace as an infant God the Word Who became flesh, O glorious Elder Symeon, who didst hold God in thine arms. And also as a prophetess the august Anna ascribed praise to Him. We acclaim you as divine servants of Christ.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Let Symeon the Righteous and Anna the Prophetess, that godly pair, be praised together; well-pleasing to God, they became witnesses of the Incarnate Lord. When they saw him as an infant, together they worshiped Him.