February 3, 2019 Length: 2:48
"There is an ancient tradition that the holy, righteous elder Symeon, who came from Egypt, was one of the Seventy learned Jews chosen in the days of the Pharoah Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 BC) for the task of rendering the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and that to Symeon was assigned the translation of the book of the Prophet Isaiah. When he reached the famous passage where the Prophet foretells the virgin birth of Christ, saying: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Is. 7:14), he was so perplexed that he took a penknife to erase the word 'virgin' in order to replace it by 'young woman'. At that moment, an angel of God appeared and prevented him from altering the sacred text, explaining that what seemed impossible to him was, in fact, a prophecy of the coming into this world of the Son of God. To confirm the truth of this, he promised that Symeon would not see death until he had seen and touched the Messiah born of the Virgin. When, after many long years, Christ was brought into the Temple at Jerusalem by the All-Holy Mother of God, the Holy Spirit revealed to the Elder Symeon that the time of fulfilment of the promise had come. He hurried to the Temple and, taking the Child in his arms, he was able to say wholeheartedly to God: Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation (Luke 2:29). For indeed, the Elder Symeon was the living image of the ancient Israel of the Old Testament, which having awaited the coming of the Messiah was ready to fade away and give place to the light and truth of the Gospel. The relics of the holy and righteous Symeon were venerated at Constantinople in the church of St James, built at the time of the Emperor Justin.
"The prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, was eighty-four years old. Since the early death of her husband, she had spent her whole life in the Temple in hope of the coming of the Saviour. She is the pattern for holy widows, virgins and monks, who have freed themselves of worldly cares in order to dwell always in the Temple, offering their fasts, hymns and prayers in eager expectation of the Lord's coming. And when, like Anna and Symeon, they have seen the indwelling Christ with the eyes of their heart and touched Him through their spiritual senses, they proclaim with joy and assurance to all mankind that the Saviour is still coming into the world: A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel (Luke 2:32)." (Synaxarion)
The Synaxarion notes that the tradition that St Symeon was one of the Seventy is by no means universal among the Fathers. According to some, Symeon was the son of Hillel and father of Gamaliel, St Paul's teacher. According to others, he was a righteous and devout Jew aged 112, neither a priest nor a Pharisee.