Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26: SS Joachim and Anne, Class III

Tradition, drawing on the (non-canonical but very early) Gospel of James, gives us Saints Joachim and Anne as the names of the father and mother of the Mother of God.

In the Protoevangelium of James, Joachim is described as a rich and pious man of the house of David who regularly gave to the poor and to the temple (synagogue) at Sepphoris.  However, as his wife was barren, the high priest rejected Joachim and his sacrifice, as his wife's childlessness was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdrew to the desert where he fasted and did penance for forty days. Angels then appeared to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child. Joachim later returned to Jerusalem and embraced Anne at the city gate.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole."


Xristoforos McAvoy said...

Why would the benedictine calendar have both a Feast of St Anne and SS Joachim and feast of St Anne on both the July 26, as well as St Joachim having a feast separately on July 16. This is immensely confusing for me.

The Sarum/Salisbury rite calendar of 1534 and the post tridentine secular use calendar of 1962 both have ONLY ONE feast for the 26, this feast is St Anne. The byzantine calender only has one feast for this day, St Anne.

Yet the hymns for SS. Joachim and Anne are written in the 14th century. Were they intended originally for St Anne or St Joachims feasts as separate individuals? who decided to put the feast of both of them together on the same day as St Anne and replace it or overshawdow it.

I need clarity. In the future I shall only celebrate St Anne on this date, it seems to me to be the more universal and venerable tradition. If there was a feast for both of them it should at least be on the same date as the byzantine calendar.

the humble servant of God,

Christophorus McAvoy
Emmitsburg, MD

Kate Edwards said...

Dear Mr MacAvoy - Your starting point is wrong.

The Benedictine calendar of 1963 has only one feast for the two saints, on July 26. I'm not quite sure where you got the idea that St Joachim is also celebrated on July 16?

In fact the situation with St Joachim is quite interesting.

I'm not sure how long the two feasts have been joined together in the Benedictine calendar - certainly my 1934 Antiphonale has them together on this day.

But according to the Wikipedia, St Joachim was not originally in the General Roman Calendar, added only in 1584, for celebration on March 20, the day after the feast day of Saint Joseph. In 1738, it was transferred to the Sunday after the Octave of the Assumption of Mary. As part of his effort to allow the liturgy of Sundays to be celebrated, Pope Pius X transferred it to August 16, the day after the Assumption, so that Joachim may be remembered in the celebration of Mary's triumph It was then celebrated as a Double of the 2nd Class, a rank that was changed in 1960 to that of 2nd Class Feast. In the Roman Catholic calendar of saints (in 1969) it was joined to that of Anne, for celebration on July 26.The Eastern Orthodox Churches and Greek Catholics commemorate Joachim on September 9, the Synaxis of Joachim and Anne, the day after the Nativity of the Theotokos.