February 2: Today is the Feast of the Presentation

2 Feb

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Rome, Italy)

The papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, located on Rome’s Esquiline Hill, dates to the fifth century, perhaps replacing an earlier church. According to a popular tradition, the site was chosen after a miraculous snow storm in early August was sent by the Virgin Mary. Dedicated by Pope Sixtus III, it was one of the first churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary after the Council of Ephesus declared her Theotokos, or Mother of God, in 431. This detail in mosaic from the magnificent triumphal arch marking the entrance into the sanctuary is a representation of the presentation of the infant Jesus at the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:22-38). The program of the arch generally depicts scenes from the Infancy narratives of the gospels (both canonical and non-canonical).  In this detail, the Virgin Mary (center), dressed in imperial garb, holds a toddler Jesus in her hands. To the right is Joseph, who looks at Mary as he gesture towards another woman (right). This is likely the prophetess Anna, who “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” Angels accompany the figures. In the background is a colonnade likely intended to represent a atrium preceding the temple itself (which appears to the right of this image). Follow me on Twitter @arturoviaggia 

The Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria in Spanish and Candlemass in northern Europe, is or was when women brought candles to their parish church to keep up the supply. The young raped and murdered woman in Bergman’s gorgeous The Virgin Spring is attacked as she’s going to church for the celebration. She’s also patron saint of Medellín in Extremadura, Spain and the other one in Colombia too. της Υπαπαντής” in Greek: Ήταν μια παράδοση για τα πρωτότοκα αγόρια που την τήρησαν οι κηδεμόνες του Ιησού ως πιστοί Εβραίοι. Κατ’ αναλογίαν σήμερα είναι ο “σαραντισμός” που τελούν οι μητέρες με το παιδί στον χριστιανικό ναό.

If I’m not mistaken, the feast comes from when the Virgin goes to mikvah after the birth of her child — forty days in Judaism — and to present him as a young male child officially to the Temple.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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