Today we celebrate the Virgin Mary’s parents, Joachim & Anna. Their story is similar to Abraham & Sarah, Hannah & Elkanah,. and Zechariah & Elizabeth. All four of these couples had trouble bearing children and all four of them had children given to them specifically by God. One huge difference between Joachim & Anna and the rest of the couples is that God gave them a girl (the rest had boys: Isaac, Samuel, and John). Like Hannah, Joachim & Anna made a promise to God that if He gave them a child, then they would give the child back to Him. When Mary was three years old, they gave her to the temple to grow up in the presence of God.
During the next seven years, Righteous Anna and Joachim visited Mary often at the temple until they died, leaving her an orphan at age ten. St. Joachim lived for 80 years and Anna for 79, and they both entered into the kingdom of God before the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Dormition feast day of St. Anna is celebrated on July 25.
Mary remained in the temple until she was twelve, at which point the priests determined that she needed to be given in marriage, “lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord” (Protoevangelium of James, 8) since she was a woman to was reaching puberty. It was then that Mary was given to Joseph the Betrothed, a widower with children. You can find more details of the story of Mary and her parents here at Orthowiki.com or read more about the Protoevangelium of James.
The Hymns of Joachim & Anna
- Let us sing praises to Joachim and Anna,
- the couple honored by God
- (and they are His kinsmen).
- They have borne for 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.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
- Anna rejoices, released from her barrenness,
- and nurses her most pure child.
- She calls all people to glorify Him
- Who gave the Virgin Mother to mankind from her womb.