Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Presentation in the Temple: The Purification

The Presentation in the Temple
10 th century
Eski Gumus Monastery (Eski Gumusler Monastery)
Nigde, Nigde province, Central Anatolian Region, Turkey

Nunc Dimittis (Canticle of Simeon; Luke 2:29-32):

"Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."

The Church at Jerusalem was observing the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier.

According to Jewish law, the firstborn male child belonged to God, and the parents had to "buy him back" on the 40th day after his birth, by offering a sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24) in the temple (thus the "presentation" of the child). On that same day, the mother would be ritually purified (thus the "purification").

Eski Gumus Monastery (Eski Gumusler Monastery) Lower picture: Refectory
Nigde, Nigde province, Central Anatolian Region, Turkey

Gumus is a small modern village not far from the ancient road which linked Tyana to Cesarea (today's Kayseri) in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Eski (old) Gumus is the previous location of the village.

The inhabitants of Gumus were monks and their servants; cells, warehouses, stables were all cut into the rock. The walls of the courtyard were decorated with blind arches and crosses. The monks gathered in a domed church decorated with frescoes.

From the paintings and other decorative elements it is thought the monastery was in existence from the 7th to the 11th century,