Forty days after the birth of Jesus, his mother Mary and Joseph the Betrothed took him to the Temple in Jerusalem. As faithful Jews who observed the Law of Moses, they brought thank offering of two turtledoves for sacrifice. There they were met by a very old man named Simeon. He was a scholar who had studied the writings of the Prophets and spent much time in prayer. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah of Israel.
When Simeon saw Jesus, he took Him into his arms and said, "Lord, now let Your servant depart in pace according to Your promise, for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel." This prayer is said at every Vespers service of the Orthodox Church, and also when a newborn baby is churched, in remembrance of this event.
This feast, celebrated on February 2, is also known as the Meeting of the Lord, and in the West, the Purification of the Virgin. During the 5th century in Jerusalem, people began the custom of holding candles throughout the Divine Liturgy on this feast, and for this reason, it is also known as Candlemas.