February 3, 2011

Righteous Symeon the God-Receiver

St. Symeon the God-Receiver (Feast Day - February 3)

                                                          By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

During the reign of the Egyptian Emperor Ptolemy Philadelphus, Symeon was chosen as one of the prominent Seventy to whom was entrusted the task of translating the Bible from the Hebrew language into the Greek language [The Septuagint].

Symeon was performing his task conscientiously, but when he was translating the book of the Prophet Isaiah and came upon the prophecy: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and will give birth to a son" (Isaiah 7:14), he became confused and took a knife to remove the word "virgin" and to replace it with the words, "young woman," and as such to translate it into Greek. At that moment, however, an angel of God appeared to Symeon and restrained him from his intention, explaining to him that the prophecy is true; that the prophecy is correctly written. The messenger of God also said that Symeon would be convinced of it personally for, according to the Will of God, he will not die until he sees the Messiah born of the Virgin. The righteous Symeon rejoiced to hear such a voice from heaven, left the prophecy unchanged and thanked God Who was making him worthy to live and to see the Promised One.

When the young Child Jesus was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem by the Virgin Mary, the Spirit of God appeared to Symeon who was very old and as "white as a swan." Symeon quickly entered the Temple and there recognized both the Virgin and the young Child by the light that shone around their heads as an aureal. The joyful Symeon took Christ into his hands and prayed to God to release him from this life: "Now, Master, You may let Your servant go in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2: 29-30).

Anna the Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, was also there, who recognized the Messiah and proclaimed Him to the people. "And coming forward at that very moment, she gave thanks to God, and spoke about the Child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38). At that time, Anna was eighty-four years old.

St. Symeon died shortly after that. This righteous Elder Simeon is considered to be the Protector of young children.

Read also: A Miracle of St. Symeon the God-Receiver


When winter encounters spring,
The aged Symeon was of good fortune:
He encountered the long-awaited One,
Who, by the prophets, was foretold,
Him, the mine of all heavenly riches -
As naked, he [Symeon] the young child saw,
And in this manner, Symeon prophesied:
"The evening has descended upon my life;
This One, lay down to conquer many
Or to raise many. Thus the spirit speaks."
The Prophecy of old was fulfilled:
Jesus became the measure and the standard,
The source of happiness, peace and joy,
But also the target of disputes and maliciousness.
One He uplifts, the other He overturns
And Paradise and Hades He opens to men.
Let everyone choose whatever their hearts speak,
In Paradise with Christ! Our heart desires.


O Powerful Lord, have mercy and save,
Do not extinguish this small flame with death!
This child is like the small flame of a candle,
And the winds of the world are terrible, even to the stars;
A weak fire is banked beneath the ashes
And beneath Your hand, the soul of man.
When the water rises and reaches the throat,
And the flame becomes smaller and the fire becomes damp,
O Lord, save, have mercy and alleviate!
Thus, David the Prophet, prayed to You
Even though he was a huge torch.
And a weak child at the base of heaven
And from sinful thoughts his head began to ache.
Every wind of malice weakened him.
It would be extinguished quickly from the tumultuous winds,
If you do not save, O Helper, hurry,
O Lord, have mercy and save us even now,
And this small flame do not extinguish with death!
Through the prayers, O God, of Your favorite Elder,
Holy Saint Symeon, the wonderful receiver of God.

The Relics of Saint Symeon the God-Receiver

The sacred relics of St. Symeon were kept in the Constantinopolitan Church of Saint James the Brother of the Lord, which was raised by Emperor Justin, near Hagia Sophia. In 1273 the relics were being transferred to Venice, but due to a storm in the Adriatic Sea, they were brought to Zadar in Croatia and remained there.

The relics of St. Symeon today also lie in Jerusalem in the Monastery bearing his name in the western part of the new city near the Monastery of the Holy Cross. The Abbot of the Monastery, Fr. Theodoritos, has served there for thirty years and one of his main goals was to acquire the relic of their patron. The relic was previously located in the city of Zadar in Croatia. With much persistence he was able to acquire a portion of the relic. This was approved on 12 January 2010 and the transfer occurred with much celebration on Sunday 4/17 October 2010. It was received by Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem.

More can be read here and here with photos.

Read also the following by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite:

Who Really Was St. Symeon the God-Receiver?

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to Your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom You love, as only the loving One.