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Macalto - Presentation at the Temple
Memory of Simon the Elder

The feast of the Presentation (Syriac macalto "entrance"), known more commonly known as the feast of Simon the Elder, commemorates the presentation of Our Lord to the temple 40 days after His birth (Luke 2:22-39) according to Jewish Law (see Leviticus 12:1-4).

A special service for the Blessing of the Candles, similar to the Candle mass in Western Churches, is performed, after which each member in the congregation holds a lit candle symbolizing the Light (i.e. Christ) which Simon the Elder saw. It is customary that the faithful use soot from these candles to color their eyelids, though this is not part of the liturgy.

During the Liturgy, candles (usually honey-made yellow ones) are set on a tray and covered with a thin white veil. The tray is then put on a table on the first step of the sanctuary, under the Gospel stand. At the close of the Quqalyon of the Mother of God, the celebrant carries a cross in his arms, in the likeness of Simon who carried Christ, and performs a procession inside the Church.

At the conclusion of the procession, the clergy surround the table on which the candles are set. The celebrant asks God in the Opening Prayer to "Sanctify our minds… to receive You on this day of Your presentation in the temple as did the old and righteous Simon who carried You on his holy arms."

The celebrant then opens his arms and asks God to "grant to all those who receive of them [the candles]... blessings (C), holiness (R), power (O), and assistance (SS); encouragement (C), well-being (R), healing (O), and rest (SS); liberty (C), relief (R), purity (O), and support (SS). [The letters in red read Cross. In the Syriac text it is slibo. While chanting the prayer, the celebrant makes the sign of the Cross on the candles moving his hands between the four edges of the Cross when indicated by the red letters.]

At the conclusion of the blessings, the Order of Zuyoho. The following hymn is chanted at the conclusion of the Liturgy.



Today entered the Temple, He Who completed all sacrifices
With a Pair of Doves to offer a sacrifice.
Simon eagerly awaited Him and start to beseech Him:
"I have seen Your mercies; let me go in peace."


Ma`de`dono: The Book of the Church Festivals (1984).

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Last Update: February 1, 1999