Saints Anna and Joachim

Traditions regarding the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ss Joachim (a.k.a. Heli) and Anna:

“The blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, sprung from the royal stock and family of David, born in the city of Nazareth, was brought up at Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord. Her father was named Joachim, and her mother Anna. Her father’s house was from Galilee and the city of Nazareth, but her mother’s family from Bethlehem. Their life was guileless and right before the Lord, and irreproachable and pious before men. For they divided all their substance into three parts. One part they spent upon the temple and the temple servants; another they distributed to strangers and the poor; the third they reserved, for themselves and the necessities of their family.” — The Gospel of the Birth of Mary

“In the history of the twelve tribes of Israel we read there was a certain person called Joachim, who being very rich, made double offerings to the Lord God, having made this resolution: my substance shall be for the benefit of the whole people, and that I may find mercy from the Lord God for the forgiveness of my sins.” — The Protevangelion of James

Whatever the source of these writings, it was believed by many in the early Church that Mary’s parents were extraordinarily righteous. They took Mary, at the age of three, to the temple, dedicating her to the service of the Lord. They visited her frequently until her teen years, before the Annunciation, when they “entered the Kingdom of God”: Joachim at 80 and Anna at 79.

“Let us sing praises to Joachim and Anna, the couple honored by God (and they are His kinsmen). They have borne us the Maiden who in a manner beyond understanding gave birth to Him Who though fleshless, became the incarnate to save the world. With her they intercede for our souls.”

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