Simeon, HOLY, the “just and devout” man of Jerusalem who according to the narrative of St. Luke, greeted the infant Savior on the occasion of His presentation in the Temple (Luke ii, 25-35). He was one of the pious Jews who were waiting for the “consolation of Israel” and, though advanced in years, he had received a premonition from the Holy Ghost, Who was in him, that he would not die before he had seen the expected Messias. This promise was fulfilled when through guidance of the Spirit he came to the Temple on the day of the Presentation, and taking the Child Jesus in his arms, he uttered the Canticle “Nunc dimittis” (q.v.) (Luke, ii, 29-32), and after blessing the Holy Family he prophesied concerning the Child, Who “is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel”, and regarding the mother whose “soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed”. As in the case of other personages mentioned in the New Testament, the name of Simeon has been connected with untrustworthy legends, viz., that he was a rabbi, the son of Hillel and the father of Gamaliel mentioned in Acts, v, 34. These distinguished relationships are hardly compatible with the simple reference of St. Luke to Simeon as “a man in Jerusalem“. With like reserve may we look upon the legend of the two sons of Simeon, Charinus, and Leucius, as set forth in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus.
JAMES F. DRISCOLL