On this first day of the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord, the Church commemorates the righteous Simeon and Anna the prophetess. The following words are ascribed to Christ in Ode 9 of the Canon: “I am not held by the Elder; it is I Who hold him, for he asks Me for forgiveness.”
Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver was, according to the testimony of the holy Evangelist Luke, a just and devout man waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25). God promised him that he would not die until the promised Messiah, Christ the Lord, came into the world.
Ancient historians tell us that the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.) wished to include texts of Holy Scripture in the famous Library at Alexandria. He invited scholars from Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin sent their wise men. The Righteous Simeon was one of the seventy scholars who came to Alexandria to translate the Holy Scriptures into Greek. The completed work was called “The Septuagint,” and is the version of the Old Testament used by the Orthodox Church.
St Simeon was translating a book of the Prophet Isaiah, and read the words: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son” (Is 7:14). He thought that “virgin” was inaccurate, and he wanted to correct the text to read “woman.” At that moment an angel appeared to him and held back his hand saying, “You shall see these words fulfilled. You shall not die until you behold Christ the Lord born of a pure and spotless Virgin.”
From this day, St Simeon lived in expectation of the Promised Messiah. One day, the righteous Elder received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, and came to the Temple. It was on the very day (the fortieth after the Birth of Christ) when the All-Pure Virgin Mary and St Joseph had come to the Temple in order to perform the ritual prescribed by Jewish Law.
When St Simeon beheld their arrival, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the divine Child held by the All-Pure Virgin Mary was the Promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. The Elder took the Child in his arms and said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
There is a Christian epigram (Number 46) in “The Greek Anthology” which is addressed to St Simeon. It tells the righteous Elder to receive the Child Who was born before Adam, and Who will deliver Simeon from this life and bring him to eternal life. A similar idea is expressed in the Aposticha (Slavic use) for the Forefeast of the Nativity of the Lord (December 24). There the Mother of God refers to her Son as “older than ancient Adam.”
Simeon blessed the All-Pure Virgin and St Joseph, and turning to the Mother of God he said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
The holy Evangelist continues: “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Aser. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband for seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not leave the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming at that very hour, also gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption at Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38).
The holy righteous Simeon the God-Receiver died at a great age (Tradition says he was 360). His holy relics were transferred to Constantinople in the sixth century. His grave was seen by the Russian pilgrim St Anthony, the future Archbishop of Novgorod (October 8) in 1200.
According to St Luke’s Gospel, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Aser. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband for seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not leave the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming at that very hour, also gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption at Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38).
The Holy Right-Believing Prince Roman of Uglich, son of Prince Vladimir and Princess Photina of Uglich, and nephew of St Basil (Basilko) of Rostov (March 4), was born on October 1, 1235. Upon the death of his father (in 1248) and his older brother Andrew (in 1261), St Roman, at the age of twenty-six, took upon himself the governance of Uglich and became a father to his subjects.
He established a poor-house and took in the destitute, who came to him from everywhere. In the principality he built fifteen more churches. St Roman was present every day at the divine services, and he often conversed with pious monks.
After the death of his wife in 1280, he devoted himself entirely to ascetic exploits of fasting, prayer and works of righteousness. He built the city Romanov (now Tutaev) on the high bank of the Volga. The holy prince died peacefully on February 3, 1285 and was buried in the Church of the Transfiguration in Uglich.
In 1486, the relics of St Roman were found to be incorrupt and were transferred into the new cathedral Church of the Transfiguration. In the year 1595 with the blessing of Patriarch Job in consequence of the fame concerning miracles the relics were witnessed to by the Metropolitan (later Patriarch) St Hermogenes (February 17), and St Roman was numbered among the saints. In 1609, the holy relics were burned along with the church during an invasion by the Poles.
The name Azariah means “whom God helps.” The holy prophet lived during King Asa’s reign (2 Chron. 15:1).
Saint Papias was martyred with St Claudianus at Perge, Pamphylia in 250.
Saint Diodorus was martyred with St Papias in 250.
Saint Claudianus was martyred with St Papias in 250.
Saint Adrian of Baneas of Caesarea in Cappadocia. suffered martyrdom under Governor Firmilianus. He was put to death by the sword, but entered into eternal life.
Saint Eubulus, like St Adrian, was from Baneas, in Caesarea of Cappadocia. He went to Caesarea to visit Christians in prison, and was arrested by Governor Firmilianus. He was thrown to the wild beasts, and thereby received the crown of martyrdom.
Saint Blaise of Caesarea lived in the third century. He was from Caesarea in Cappadocia (Asia Minor) and was a shepherd.
When a persecution against Christians began, St Blaise surrendered himself into the hands of the torturers. They subjected him to torture, and beat him with leather thongs, but the Lord healed his wounds. They then threw Blaise into a cauldron of boiling water, but he remained there unharmed. The pagan soldiers, seeing this miracle, came to believe in Christ.
The governor, wishing to show that the martyr remained unharmed because the water had cooled, jumped into the cauldron and died.
Having brought many to faith in Christ, St Blaise peacefully surrendered his soul to God. They thrust the saint’s shepherd’s staff into the ground, and it grew up into a large tree, which covered with its branches a church built over his relics.
Saint Simeon, Bishop of Tver was descended from the Polotsk princes. He was the seventh bishop of Polotsk and the first bishop of the Tver diocese. The saint’s cathedra was first at Polotsk, but hostile attacks and conflicts with the Lithuanian princes, and the murder of the Polotsk prince (his relative) in 1263, compelled him to move to Tver (Prince Yaroslav Yaroslavich had become Great Prince of Russia, and he chose Tver as his ruling city).
St Simeon was well-disposed and kind to the down-trodden and destitute, attentive to the monastic and priestly orders, and a zealous defender of truth.
The Nikonov Chronicle relates that this holy bishop was “knowledgeable about medicine, and well versed in the books of Holy Scripture; he was a teacher, a virtuous man, concerned for the needy, widows and orphans, a defender of the down-trodden and deliverer of the oppressed.”
History preserves for us a conversation of St Simeon with Prince Constantine of Polotsk who, wishing to make a jest about his court, asked the saint at supper: “Where shall the courts be in that world?” Simeon answered, “Those courts shall also be where the prince is.”
The prince did not care for this, and he said, “A court might judge unjustly, and take bribes, or torture people, and is it I who do the harm?” The bishop explained to him, “If a prince is good and God-fearing, and is concerned for the people, and loves truth and he appoints good, God-fearing, intelligent and truth-loving men to his council, that prince shall be in Paradise and his court with him. If, however, a prince is without the fear of God, and is not concerned for Christians and does not think of orphans and widows, and if he appoints wicked counselors who lack integrity in order to bring him money, that prince shall be in Hell and his court with him.”
St Simeon died on February 3, 1289.
No information available at this time.