The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is celebrated on February 2nd. It honours the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, forty days after his birth. The event is described in the Gospel of St Luke (2:23-24).
The feast was celebrated in Rome as early as the 5th century. At a certain point, the blessing of candles was added to the celebration to recall that Jesus is the 'light to the gentiles'. The feast is, therefore, often referred to as Candlemas.
The Presentation of the Lord is depicted in a beautiful 13th century mosaic, the work of Pietro Cavallini, in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
In Western Christianity, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is also known by its earlier name as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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