Simeon (Gospel of Luke)

Simeon (Simeon the God-receiver) at the Temple is the "just and devout" man of Jerusalem who, according to Luke 2:25–35, met Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they entered the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law of Moses on the 40th day from Jesus' birth at the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

According to the Biblical account, Simeon had been visited by the Holy Spirit and told that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. On taking Jesus into his arms he uttered a prayer, which is still used liturgically as the Latin Nunc dimittis in many Christian churches, and gave a prophecy alluding to the crucifixion.

In some Christian traditions, this meeting is commemorated on February 2 as Candlemas, or more formally, the Presentation of the Lord, the Meeting of the Lord, or the Purification of the Virgin. His prophecy is used in the context of Our Lady of Sorrows. Simeon is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions. His feast day is October 8 in the revised Martyrology of the Roman Catholic Church.

Yegorov-Simeon the Righteous
Simeon the Godreceiver by Alexei Yegorov. 1830–40s
Prophet, God-receiver
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Major shrineChurch of St. Simeon in Zadar, Croatia
FeastOctober 8
AttributesDepicted as an elderly man, sometimes vested as a Jewish priest, often shown holding the infant Jesus
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 145
Simeon in the Temple, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1631

New Testament

The sole mention in the New Testament of Simeon is as follows:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also),that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” - Luke 2:25, RSV-2CE

The text suggests that Simeon was the officiating priest. Some writers have identified this Simeon with Shimon ben Hillel, although Hillel was not a priest.[1]

In Christian tradition


  • Holy Simeon is the usual term used in Catholic sources. Though St. Simeon the Prophet and St. Simeon the Elder are also found.[2]
  • Simeon senex (Simeon the old man) occurs in some Latin texts and hagiographies.[3]
  • Aged Simeon in poetry and music, including the Candlemas anthem "When Mary to the Temple Went" by Johannes Eccard (1533–1611).
  • Simeon is used by Protestants.[4]
  • Simeon Theodochos (Simeon the God-receiver, Συμεών ο Θεοδόχος) is used in Greek Orthodox tradition. In Russian Orthodox tradition this becomes Simeon Bogo-priimets (Симеон Богоприимец).


According to a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Simeon had been one of the seventy-two translators of the Septuagint. As he hesitated over the translation of Isaiah 7:14 (LXX: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive...") and was going to correct it to γυνή (woman), an angel appeared to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen the Christ born of a virgin. This would make him well over two hundred years old at the time of the meeting described in Luke, and therefore miraculously long-lived.[5]

Festal observances

The Meeting of Our Lord (Russian icon, 15th century)

The events in the life of Saint Simeon the Righteous are observed on both February 2 and 3. The observances of the first day center around memorializing the act of Mary undergoing an act of ritual purification, and presenting Jesus, her child, to the Temple, a feast day known as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Since this day focuses more on Jesus and Mary, the observation on February 3 is specific to St. Simeon, who was allowed to die after seeing the Christ (or Messiah) born of a virgin. In Christian tradition, the day of a saint's death is often celebrated as the saint's feast day.

Under Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain for three and thirty days "in the blood of her purification", which makes a total of 40 days. The Christian Feast of the Purification therefore corresponds to the day on which Mary, according to Jewish law (see Leviticus 12:2–8), should have attended a ceremony of ritual purification. The Gospel of Luke 2:22–39 relates that Mary was purified according to the religious law, followed by Jesus's presentation in the Jerusalem temple, and this explains the formal names given to the festival.

In the liturgy of Evening prayer in the Anglican communion, Anglicans recite the Nunc dimittis – or sing it in Evensong in the canticle known as the Song of Simeon – traditionally, every evening. It is also used in the Roman Catholic Compline and Orthodox Vespers. The Nunc dimittis has been set to music by many notable composers, such as Rachmaninoff (All-Night Vigil).

The feast on February 2 is often referred to as Candlemas, as in honor of the ritual purification of the Virgin Mary, candles (of beeswax) which will be used for the entire year are brought into a church and blessed. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. In the Church of England, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a Principal Feast. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts.

February 2

Simeon Schrein (Zadar)
Chest of Saint Simeon from year 1380 in Zadar, photographed around 1900

This feast day has a number of different names:

February 3

Simeon the Righteous is commemorated in his own right on February 3. In the Anglican Communion, Simeon is not venerated with a festal observance, and February 3 is set aside to recognize Anskar (801–865), a missionary, Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and first Bishop in Sweden, 864.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Simeon is commemorated with Anna the Prophetess on February 3 on the Feast of the Holy and Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver and Anna the Prophetess.

February 16

While both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches agree on the setting of the date of Candlemas on the 40th day after Christmas (in accordance with the Mosaic Law), the difference in the marking of Christmas – December 25 results over a theological dispute related to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar over the older Julian Calendar. December 25 currently occurs 13 days later on the Julian Calendar than on the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian revision of the calendar occurred in 1582, well after the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Christian churches in 1054.

As a result, many Orthodox Christians celebrate St. Simeon's feast day on February 16. As mentioned above, the Orthodox Church celebrates St. Simeon on the day after the Feast of the Presentation, that is to say, February 3. However, for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, February 3 falls on February 16 of the modern Gregorian Calendar.

The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Nativity of Christ on January 6, and so their celebration of the Presentation, which they call The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple is on February 14.

See also


  1. ^ The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees Before 70: The houses – Page 217 Jacob Neusner – 1971 "It is not integral to the story, and some say is immediately corrected : Hillel was not a priest (as if Yohanan was!), and therefore could not have been the master to whom the story is assigned. Perhaps someone had a special interest in .."
  2. ^ The Tomb of St. Simeon the Prophet by Charles Seymour, Jr. (Yale University)
  3. ^ Monks of Ramsgate Abbey, The Book of Saints: a Dictionary of Servants of God canonized by the Catholic Church, 1921, p. 245
  4. ^ Meeting Simeon and Anna in the Temple (Luke 2:21–38)
  5. ^ Orthodox Church in America, Holy, Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver

External links

  • Entry for February 3 from the Prologue from Ohrid with a brief hagiography of St. Simeon.
  • Icon and hagiography from the website of the Orthodox Church in America.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Holy Simeon" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
Church of St. Symeon, Mytilene

The Church of Saint Symeon in Mytilene (Greek: Άγιος Συμεών Μυτιλήνης) is a church on the island of Lesvos in the city of Mytilene close to the old market. In the archive of the Metropolitan Church of Mytilene documentation can be found regarding the church on page 30a and 38B beginning 1700. The specific church is mentioned and it may have been built around 1700. A church was built on the site around 1885-1891, it replaced the old church which was smaller and ready to be torn down. This maybe attributed to an earthquake in 1867. There exist architectural plans that show a huge church was on the site that predates the building of 1885. Three saints are venerated by the church; Saint Simeon Stylites of Syria, Saint Symeon Stylites of Lesbos and Simeon (Gospel of Luke)

October 8

October 8 is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 84 days remain until the end of the year.

Outline of Christianity

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christianity:

Christianity – monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ (or Messiah), the Son of God, the Savior, and, according to Trinitarianism, God the Son, part of the Trinity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.


Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew שמעון (Biblical Šimʿon, Tiberian Šimʿôn), usually transliterated as Shimon. In Greek it is written Συμεών, hence the Latinized spelling Symeon.

Simon (given name)

Simon is a common name, from Hebrew שִׁמְעוֹן Šimʻôn, meaning "listen". It is also a classical Greek name, deriving from an adjective meaning "flat-nosed". In the first century CE, Simon was the most popular male name for Palestine Jews.The Hebrew name is Hellenised as Symeon (Greek: Συμεών) in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament as both Symeon and, according to most authorities, Simon. Some commentators on the New Testament say that it could be a Hellenised form of the Hebrew Shim'on, but if not then it indicates that Peter came from a "Hellenistic background"; this was not unheard of in this era, as contemporary Jews such as Andrew the Apostle sometimes bore originally Greek names.Simon is one Latinised version of the name, the others being Simeon or Symeon. This practice carried over into English: in the King James Version, the name Simeon Niger is spelt Simeon (Act 13:1) as is Simeon (Gospel of Luke) (Luke 2:25), while Peter is called Simon (John 1:44).

Tomb of Simeon the Just

The Tomb of Simeon the Just or Simeon the Righteous (Hebrew: קבר שמעון הצדיק‎; translit. Kever Shimon haTzadik) is an ancient tomb in Jerusalem traditionally believed to be the burial place of Simeon the Just. It is located adjacent to the Cave of the Minor Sanhedrin in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Vasily Shebuyev

Vasily Kuzmich Shebuyev (Russian: Василий Козьмич Шебуев; 2 April 1777, in Kronstadt – 16 July 1855, in Saint Petersburg) was a Russian painter, State Councilor and Rector at the Imperial Academy of Arts.

New Testament people
Jesus Christ
Virgin Mary
See also

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