Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

St. Joachim

Feast day: July 26

Joachim, husband of Anne and father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Neither Joachim nor Anne is mentioned in Holy Scripture. The Legend says that they were a childlessness couple. With angelic intervention they had Mary.

Perhaps the most famous cycle of paintings of them both is that by Giotto in the Arena Chapel at Padua, but some scenes such as the marriage of Joachim and Anne were also quite well known in England (as in the stained glass at Great Malvern Priory) and elsewhere.

Tradition is grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God . True, this tradition seems to rest ultimately on the so-called "Gospel of James", the "Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary".

Keep in mind, however that their rejection from the canon do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions. So are legendary facts, and they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents.

Some commentators, who believe that the genealogy given by St. Luke is that of the Blessed Virgin, find the mention of Joachim in Heli, and explain that Joseph had, in the eyes of the law, become by his marriage the son of Joachim.

Much more interesting are the beautiful lines in which the "Gospel of James" describes how, in their old age, Joachim and Anne received the reward of their prayers. Tradition has it that the parents of the Blessed Virgin, who, apparently, first lived in Galilee, came later on to settle in Jerusalem, and there the Blessed Virgin was born and reared.

There also they died and were buried. A church, known at various epochs as St. Mary, was built during the fourth century, possibly by St. Helena, on the site of the house of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and their tombs were there honoured until the close of the ninth century, when the church was converted into a Moslem school. The crypt which formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered on 18 March, 1889.

St. Joachim was honored very early by those who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin's birthday.

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