Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

Monastery of Sankt Johann in Müstair (CH)

This year, Christmas falls on a Sunday, and the Feast of the Circumcision completes the Octave on the following Sunday, superseding the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas. The Circumcision comes in verse 21 of the second chapter of Luke, and in verse 22 begins the story of Jesus’s Presentation in the Temple. Today’s Gospel reading – Luke 2.33-40 – picks up after Simeon’s first words (Nunc dimittis – the Gospel Reading on the second of February, for the Feast of the Purification) with Simeon’s prophecy of the sword that will pierce Mary’s heart. We also today read about Anna the prophetess. Above is the lower half of a fresco of the scene from around the year 800. Its inscription reads SUSCEPTUS. The cloth over Simeon’s hands bears the initials C and M. Above and between those letters are the feet of the Christ Child.

The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger

Heortology: A History Of The Christian Festivals From Their Origin To The Present Day by Heinrich Kellner (Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1908).


Homilies Of Feasts And Sundays By Catholic Church Fathers by D. G. Hubert (Washbourne, 1901).

Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, holydays and festivals throughout the ecclesiastical year, to which are added the lives of many saints by Leonard Goffiné (Pustet, 1880).

Goffine’s Devout Instructions on the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays and Holydays (Benziger, 1896).

Abridged Sermons for all the Sundays of the Year by Saint Alphonsus Liguori.

The Catholic Pulpit: Containing a Sermon for Every Sunday and Holiday in the Year and for Good Friday (Murphy, 1851).

Readings for the Sundays and Holy Days of the Church’s Year (Bosworth, 1881).

Original, Short and Practical Sermons for Every Feast of the Ecclesiastical Year : Three Sermons for Every Feast by Francis Weninger (Lowen, 1882).

Analysis of the Gospels of the Sundays of the Year by Angelo Cagnolo (Benziger, 1892).

Sermons for Children’s Masses, Accorading to the Sundays and Principal Festivals of the Year by Raphael Frassinetti (Benziger, 1900).

Sermons from the Latins by James J. Baxter (Benziger, 1902).

Short Discourses for all the Sundays in the Year According to the Mind & Method of the Catechism of the Council of Trent by John McQuirk (St. Paul’s Library, 1908).


Meditations on the Life, the Teaching and the Passion of Jesus Christ for Every Day of the Ecclesiastical Year by Augustine Maria Ilg (Benziger, 1901).


“The Iconographic Development of the Presentation in the Temple”

5th Century Mosaic at Santa Maria Maggiore (there is an alternate, though improbable, identification of these scene)

ca. 817-824 Enamel Cross Reliquary of Pope Paschal I

Folio 38 in the Drogo Sacramentary, ca. 850

Panel on the Golden Altar of Sant’Ambrogio, ca. 850

ca. 1305 Fresco by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel

1342 Painting by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (see also)

1450-1452 Painting by Fra Angelico

ca. 1455 Saint Columba Altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden (see also)

ca. 1454 Painting by Andrea Mantegna (see also)

1450-1475 Painting by Giovavnni Bellini (see also)

Compare the painting technique of these two paintings here.

1404-1405 Predella of the Oddi Altarpiece by Raphael (see also)

1516 Painting by Fra Bartolommeo (see also)

1552-1556 Painting by Lorenzo Lotto

1554-1556 Painting by Tintoretto

1641 Painting by Simon Vouet (see also)

Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

Guide to Christian Iconography

Kornbluth Photography

Google Art Project

Iconography of Christian Art

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