Welcome to the first Greek Orthodox women's monastery in the Americas, founded in 1989. Dedicated to the Birth of the Mother of God, The Theotokos, the Monastery celebrates Her feast day on September 8th.
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST FEBRUARY 2ND
A feast and gala procession in honor of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple was celebrated by Jerusalem Christians at least as early as the late 4th century. It took place 40 days after the feast of the Lord’s birth since the Jewish law required a mother to undergo a rite of purification 40 days following childbirth. In Luke’s account of the Presentation, St. Simeon is recorded as proclaiming Jesus “a light of revelation to the Gentiles.” The gospel for this feast is taken from Luke 2:23-24.
“Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.
The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged St. Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with St. Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor.
Through St. Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As St. Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.
By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honor.”
This excerpt is from a seventh century sermon by St. Sophronius