PRESENTATION AT THE TEMPLE

Presentazione al Tempio The Church celebrates today the feast of Candlemas, commemorating the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. The origin of the feast lays in the very Torah: the Law prescribes, in fact, the redemption of the first-born son by means of a sacrifice to God (פדיון הבן, Pidyon HaBen). In accordance with this practice, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple forty days after his birth. On the same occasion Mary received the ritual purification which is prescribed to women after childbirth; due to this, the feast is also known as the "Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary". The name "Candlemas" comes from the traditional blessing of candles performed during the celebrations of the feast. It was on the occasion of the Presentation at the Temple, in fact, that Simeon, having recognized Jesus as the Messiah and Light of the World, declaimed the so-called "Nunc dimittis":

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 lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

  "Presentation at the Temple", illumination from a Book of Hours, ms. 0135, f. 070v, between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, Bibliothèque Municipale, Le Mans.  

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