Rejoice of ye feast lovers on this joyous occasion of the Nativity of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos. In the Theotokos, the human race has found a mediatrix, an example and role model for each of us! Angels marvel that our God chose her, the Holy Spirit descended upon her, and the Son dwelt in her womb.
To render honor to Sts. Joachim and Anna, the Church has the custom to celebrate the Synaxis, that is the calling together, of the other Saints playing a major role in the current celebration. It is for this reason that we call to remembrance the pious and God-fearing parents of the Theotokos. To give them great honor, their names are also at the end of the commemoration list recited at the end of the Orthodox Services.
Righteous Saint Joakim
Commemorated on September 9
Righteous Saint Joakim, son of Barpathir, was a descendant of King David, to whom God had revealed that from the descendants of his line would be born the Saviour of the world. Righteous Saint Anna was the daughter of Matthan and through her father she was of the tribe of Levi, and through her mother – of the tribe of Judah. The spouses lived at Nazareth in Galilee. They were childless into their old age and all their life they grieved over this. They had to endure derision and scorn, since at that time childlessness was considered a disgrace. But they never grumbled and only but fervently prayed to God, humbly trusting on His will. Once during the time of a great feast, the gifts which Righteous Joakim took to Jerusalem for offering to God were not accepted by the priest Ruben, who considered that a childless man was not worthy to offer sacrifice to God. This pained the old man very much, and he, regarding himself the most sinful of people, decided not to return home, but to settle in solitude in a desolate place. His righteous spouse Anna, having learned, what sort of humiliation her husband had endured, in prayer and fasting began sorrowfully to pray to God for granting her a child. In his desolate solitude and with fasting Righteous Joakim also besought God for this. And the prayer of the saintly couple was heard: to both of them an Angel announced, that there would be born of them a Daughter, Who would bless all the race of mankind. By order of this Heavenly Messenger, Righteous Joakim and Anna met at Jerusalem, where through the promise of God was born to them the Daughter, named Mary.
Saint Joakim died a few years later after the Entry into the Temple of his Blessed Daughter, at about age 80. Saint Anna died at age 70, two years after him, spending the time in the Temple alongside her Daughter.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.