A reading from a sermon by St Sophronius
Let us all run to meet him, we who honour and venerate the mystery of the Lord with pious devotion. Let us all go to meet him with eager minds. Let there be no one who does not share in this meeting, let no one refuse to carry a light. We add to this the bright shining of candles. In this way we show forth the divine splendour of the coming of him who makes all things bright, in the abundance of whose eternal light all things are bathed in light when the evil shadows have been driven away. In this way we show the brightness of soul with which we must go to meet Christ.
The most chaste Virgin Mother of God bore in her arms the true light and came to the help of those who were lying in darkness. in the same way we must hurry out to meet him who is truly light, enlightened by the beams of his brightness and bearing in our hands the light which shines for all.
Indeed this is the mystery which we celebrate, that the light has come into the world and has given it light when it was shrouded in darkness, and that the day-spring has visited us from on high and given light to those who were sitting in darkness. That is why we go in procession with lamps in our hands and hasten bearing lights showing both that the light has shone upon us, and signifying the glory which is to come to us through him. therefore let us all run together to meet God.
That true light which enlightens every person coming into this world, has come. brethren, let us all be enlightened, let us all be filled with light.
Let none of us remain a stranger to this brightness, let no one who is filled with it continue in the darkness, but let us all go forth shining with light, let us all go together bright with that light to welcome with old Simeon that everlasting shining light. Rejoicing with him in our souls, let us sing a hymn of thanks to the Begetter and Father of the light, who has sent the true light and driven away the darkness, and made us all to shine with light.
For we too have seen through him the salvation of God which he has prepared before the face of all peoples, and has shown forth for the glory of us who are the new Israel; and we have been freed at once from that mysterious and ancient sin just as Simeon was released from the bonds of this present life when he had seen Christ.
We have embraced Christ in faith as he came to us from Bethlehem, and have been made the people of God instead of Gentiles, for he is the salvation given us by our God and Father. We have seen God made flesh with our very eyes and we are called the New Israel now that we have seen the visible presence of God and have cradled him in our minds. That presence we celebrate with a yearly festival – we shall never forget it.
Sophronius (c. 560 – March 11, 638; Greek: Σωφρόνιος) was the Patriarch of Jerusalem from 634 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Before rising to the primacy of the see of Jerusalem, he was a monk and theologian who was the chief protagonist for orthodox teaching in the doctrinal controversy on the essential nature of Jesus and his volitional acts.