Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, The
A feast of our Lord celebrated on Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas and the Feast of the Purification. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary in the Jerusalem Temple forty days after Jesus' birth, in accordance with the requirements of Jewish law (Lv 12:2-8). The feast is celebrated about forty days after Christmas. According to the account of Lk 2:22-39, the presentation of Jesus was also the occasion of the meeting of Jesus with Simeon and Anna. Simeon's prayer of blessing is the basis for the canticle Nunc dimittis (see BCP, p. 120). Celebration of the feast dates from the fourth century in Jerusalem. It was introduced in Rome in the seventh century, where it included a procession with candles and the singing of the Nunc dimittis. The celebration came to include the lighting and blessing of candles which were carried in procession. This feast was known as “Candlemas.” See Nunc dimittis.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.