When the Meeting of the Lord in 2019
In Orthodox and Catholic Christianity, as well as in a number of ancient Eastern churches supporting the Apostolic Succession and Scripture, in some Protestant concessions, the Meeting of the Lord is widely celebrated and is considered one of the founding members of the church calendar.
In 2019, Catholics will celebrate it on February 2 (according to the Gregorian calendar), and in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in the Orthodox Russian, Jerusalem, Serbian and Georgian churches, the holiday is among the Twelve Great and it falls on February 15 (February 2 of the Julian) .
The essence of the holiday
The meeting marks the fortieth day of the birth of Christ, when Mary first brought him to the temple in Jerusalem. 40 days here appear absolutely not in vain, because it is this period of time from the date of the birth of her child that a woman was considered unclean in front of the church.
Interestingly, having given birth to a boy, she got rid of this stamp twice as fast as a girl - mothers of daughters considered it unclean and all 80 days.
In order to be cleaned, according to the letter of the Old Testament, each had to bring a one-year-old lamb for ritual burning, as a symbol of its recognition of God's full authority over itself and its gratitude, as well as a dove or dove as a sign of purification from sins.
The poorest women were allowed to do two doves. Mary, as is well known, brought two turtle doves, and moreover, she had to bring her newborn son to the temple at the same time, since, according to Jewish law, all male firstborn children belonged to God.
Mary and Joseph on the threshold of the temple were met by an old righteous man, Saint Simeon, who for many years had been waiting for a meeting with the Lord. Since the vow given to them did not allow him to die in peace until this moment, after meeting with little Jesus, he was spared the need to live, and before his death he delivered the good news about the future of Christ. While still in the temple on that solemn day, they met the prophet Anna, which is also mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. At the end of all the activities, the happy parents returned to Galilee, to their Nazareth.
Church meaning of the Presentation
Officially, this holiday was recognized in the second half of the fourth century in Jerusalem. For the first time, the pilgrim S. mentions him in his diaries.Eteria and gives him the name "the fortieth day of the Epiphany." From her words, by the way, very interesting information was preserved about exactly how the celebrations took place in antiquity.
So, for example, she talks about the festive procession to the temple of the Resurrection, the Liturgy in it - even more magnificent than the Easter, obligatory sermons of not only the priests, but also the bishop.
With the passage of history, Jerusalem “shared” the Confession and with the whole Middle East, but there it is, characteristically, reached its apogee of its significance only in the sixth century under King Justinian. It is noteworthy that in the modern festive liturgy on this day, the prayers for the emperor are surely heard several times in his honor.
Also, an important fact was the transformation and theological interpretation of the holiday, when it was originally considered to be the Lord, and only much later acquired the status of Theotokos. But, the Second Vatican Council again transferred it to the old category, thus leaving in a different direction, as compared with the Eastern tradition, where the Meeting of the Holy Virgin is still considered to be the Mother of God holiday.
By the way, a reflection of this fact can be seen even in the clothes of our priests who conduct services on that day: they put on blue colors as a sign of the virginity of the Virgin Mary and whites - while honoring the light.
Traditions of celebrating the Presentation and intersection with folk ancient beliefs
Certainly, like any great-feast day, the Meeting cannot do without a festive liturgy, at which the parishioners will surely bless the water and light a candle. People call her “the thunder” and she, according to popular belief, keeps the house and the mansion from lightning, rain and fire. Often it is carried over the cornfield, protecting crops from hail.
This candle is a powerful amulet, it is first cut around all family members - from the evil eye, and then placed in front of the icon in the house to protect it from evil forces. Sometimes the holiday itself in a number of villages is called the Gromnitsa in honor of this rite.
Naturally, the candle could not stand all the time lit - and it is dangerous, and would have burned out too quickly. Therefore, after the ritual, they extinguished it and lit it again when the clouds were running and there was a risk of bad weather.
It was also believed that if it was lit in a room where a woman gives birth to a child hard, her flour will be relieved, and it helps against epilepsy. And finally, it is this candle that was lit if someone died in the house during the whole of this year until the next Meeting.
By the way, and with the consecration of water for this holiday, everything was not so simple: they always added to it that dripping from icicles clinging to the roof — it was believed that the healing properties of such water are simply inexhaustible.
It was used in any internal diseases and wounds; they sprinkled themselves and children from the evil eye and unclean misfortunes; as the first time to chase him to graze. The beekeepers also used this water, splashing onto their hives at the beginning of the season.
Such an old holiday, of course, could not fail to acquire a multitude of beliefs, good, our people are extremely shrewd and observant. So, it was believed that the Presentation is the moment of the meeting of winter and spring, the moment of their battle.
They said that if there is a thaw on a holiday, the cold will still last a long time, but the autumn will be late. The wind on this day was perceived as a very bad sign, but the quiet weather, just, promoted a good swarming of bees and a great harvest. The roosters were also closely watched - if they drink water from a puddle, the cold will still return.
Not done, of course, and without traditional divination. For example, they exhibited a plate with grain in the yard at night: if it is covered with dew, then there will be a good harvest, but not - expect trouble. In general, Christianity never really prevented our people from supporting the original pagan traditions, in particular, by all means singing special spells on this day,inviting good summer and warm. By the way, it was the Meeting of the Secret to start the grain-growing cycle - it was necessary to start preparing the tool for field work and seed material.