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Candlemass -and all the other titles!

40 days after the feast of the Nativity of our Lord we celebrate His Presentation in the Jerusalem Temple as a babe by St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 2:22-40). This was required by the Divine Law (the Torah) for the purification of a mother who had given birth 40 days prior, and in particular a male child. Purification in respect of the shedding of blood is no longer required in the Antiochian Orthodox Church; nonetheless, 40 day prayers are still offered in thanksgiving for a birth.,

Being pious Jews, the Mother of God and St Joseph gladly complied with the requirements of the Law. St Luke records that they brought sacrifices applicable to the poor, who could not afford an unblemished lamb (verse 24; cf. Leviticus 12:6-8).

Strictly speaking, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (or the Meeting of the Lord) is a feast of the Mother of God in respect of her purification. It is also called Candlemass in the Orthodox west, the Mass of Candles. In northern Europe particularly, the tradition of bringing candles to be blessed at the end of the Liturgy is well established and we follow this custom at St Aidan's. It derives from Christ being "a light to enlighten the Gentiles", the Light of the World (Luke 2:32; cf. John 8:12).

So, we have the 4 titles of this glorious feast! ... the Meeting of the Lord, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, the Purification of the Ever-Virgin Mary and Candlemass.

May He Who is the Light of the World ever be our light as we believe in Him and serve Him to the end. Amen.


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