This icon comes from the same series of the Twelve Feasts as No. 7, the Entry into Jerusalem. The painter is a Cretan artist familiar with the icons of Damaskinos in the church of San Giorgo de Greci (Fig. 1.) The Presentation of Christ in the Temple is one of the ‘great feasts’ of the Orthodox liturgical calendar; it originates from ancient times and is known from at least the fourth century. Its iconographic representation was fully established by the ninth century.
The scene takes place in the Jerusalem Temple. It illustrates the text of Saint Luke: the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:27-32 KJV).
The Prophet Simeon wearing a rose-pink robe is shown standing on the right receiving the Christ-child from the arms of the Virgin. They stand before the Royal Doors of the templon above which is a baldachin with a red curtain symbolically tied to a pillar signifying the opening or revelation of the mystery. Behind Mary we see St Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:36–38) and St Joseph, all three in rich bright colours. Joseph holds the sacrificial offering of two turtle doves according to the requirement in Mosaic Law.1
A helpful commentary on the elaborate meaning and theology of the event is at https://iconreader.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/presentation-of-christ-temple-and-church/
The individual and distinctive style of the faces is typically late Cretan, as we also see in the companion icon BZ07.