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The Song of Simeon
The Song of Simeon : The ‘Nunc Dimittis’, the song of the prophet Simeon.

Nunc Dimittis

The Song of the Prophet Simeon*

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.

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

* From the Latin, meaning ‘Now you dismiss’. From Luke 2:25-33, where these words are spoken by the prophet Simeon on holding the infant Jesus. See our post Candlemas.

Picture: From Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
An icon of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, from the Greek town of Kastoria in the 14th century. It shows the Virgin Mary (with St Joseph the Betrothed behind her) giving Jesus into the arms of Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver. Behind Simeon can be seen Righteous Anna, who also prophesied that day. By Jewish law, any woman’s first-born son belonged to the Temple, and must be ‘presented’ at the Temple and redeemed by his parents for a token sum. The mother was also declared safe to return to public life after confinement for birth-giving (her ‘purification’). Consequently, the feast has variously been called the Meeting, the Presentation of Christ, the Purification of Mary, or in England Candlemas, as candles have been handed out and blessed on this day since Anglo-Saxon times.

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