Saint Joachim

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In Orthodox and Catholic tradition, Saint Joachim was the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Virgin Mary, and therefore is ascribed the title of "forebearer of God." The canonical Gospel accounts in the New Testament do not explicitly name either of Mary's parents, but some argue that the genealogy in Luke 3 is that of Mary rather than Joseph, thereby naming her father as Eli. Catholic and Orthodox theologians who hold to this say "Eli" may be short for "Eliakim," which is similar to "Joachim." The story of Joachim and Anne appears in the apocryphal Proto-gospel of James.

Joachim is described as a rich and pious man who regularly gives to the poor and to the temple. However, as his wife is barren, the High Priest rejects Joachim and his sacrifice, his wife's childlessness being interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdraws to the desert where he fasts and does penance for forty days. Angels appear to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child. Joachim returns to Jerusalem and embraces Anne at the city gate. The cycle of legends concerning Joachim and Anne were included in the Golden Legend and remained popular in Christian art until the Council of Trent restricted the depiction of apocryphal events.

Saint Joachim's feast day is celebrated on September 9 in the Eastern Church and on July 26 in the West.

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