Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Meeting of Our Lord

Today we commemorate the Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem.  In the Gospel reading for the Feast, we hear the prayer prayed by St. Simeon upon receiving Him.

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.

We learn from Holy Tradition that St. Simeon was one of the translators of the Septuagint, and St. Luke tells us that he was waiting to see Our Lord in person before dying (Luke 2:25-32). This puts him at 360 years old when he received Christ in the Temple. He recognized Him who is our Salvation, and prayed to God to depart this life. This prayer is said or sung daily at the conclusion of Vespers in the Orthodox Church, where we usually call it the Prayer or Song of St. Simeon. It is generally sung during Compline in the West, where it is known as the Nunc Dimittis, the first words of the prayer in Latin. Orthodox Christians also sing this hymn at the Churching of a child, which I think is a rather beautiful thing to do, since by seeing each tiny baby being presented in the Church as an icon of Christ being presented in the Temple, we are reminded that we are all called to be icons of Christ.

Because this hymn is sung so frequently, and probably also because it's such a beautiful prayer, there are many musical settings for it, both Eastern and Western. One evening with my husband's family as we sat around talking, somehow we ended up singing as many different versions as we knew, and we came up with about four or five, just from singing in churches over the years. Here a few different ones. You can find hundreds more recordings by searching YouTube for St. Simeon and Nunc Dimittis.   These are all in English; you can also find it in many other languages. For instance, the Rachmaninoff version is quite haunting.

I hope you enjoy them. Blessed Feast day to you!


  1. Hi... Sarah!I so glad to find your blog, interesting content, although most I can not understand it well. I've learned to create a blog. I hope can learning from each other's experiences. It is important to increase my insight. Greetings from Yogyakarta.
    Btw...foods you serve on this blog seems very delicious!

  2. blessed feast to you too!! thanks for the music...

  3. Welcome, Yuni. Blogs can be a very interesting way to learn about people around the world, can't they? I'm glad you like the food pictures; cooking is one of my favorite things.

    Hi Elizabeth, I had lots of fun listening to different versions and choosing which ones to post.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts--I love hearing from you!