Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
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
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
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.