St. Anne icon
September 2nd, 2013
Ink, watercolor, gold leaf“Let us sing praises to Joachim and Anne,
the couple honored by God
(and they are His kinsmen).
They have borne for us the Maiden
who in a manner beyond understanding
gave birth to Him Who though fleshless,
became the Incarnate God to save the world.
With Her they intercede for our souls.” ~ Troparion (Tone 5) of the Feast of Saints Anne and JoachimLet us praise Joachim and Anne, to whom, in their generation, the Lord gave Him who was a blessing for all the nations. Alleluia!
-Antiphon of the Feast of St. Anne and Joachim
This one is very late for the Feast day, but I’ve been very busy for the past couple of weeks (sorry everyone for not posting more. I’m making art, I promise!) My twin sister is named Anne, so I wanted to give her a copy of this icon as a (very belated) birthday gift, as well as for another friend of mine named after the good Saint. As for the image itself, St. Anne is often depicted with Mary, sometimes teaching her to read the Scriptures, and sometimes shown also with the Child Jesus. I decided to show both depictions in my own little icon. In this image, St. Anne is pointing to the Scriptures, which promise the future Incarnation of Our Savior Jesus Christ. Mary also holds up the Sacred Scriptures, and presents them to the viewer, while the Christ Child is shown as the Word made Flesh--the Word of Scripture and the Incarnate Word born of the Virgin Mary. :+: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE SAINT :+:Saint Anne
(Ann, Anna, Hannah) (born in the first century B.C., died perhaps in the first century A.D. at the latest)
, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus, according to ancient Church tradition. The information about them comes from the 2nd century apocryphal Protevangelium of James
and the 3rd century Evangelium de nativitate Mariae
. Though the books were not added to the canon of Scripture for various reasons, the Church has acknowledged the special patronage of the parents of the blessed Mother, and has always held them in high honor. According to these sources, St. Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David. St. Anne was of the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe). The two were married in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth. They were wealthy, pious and generous in alms-giving and in service to the poor. However, they were also childless and remained so until they were very old, and were deeply saddened by this. One day, while Joachim was presenting his offering in the Temple, the High Priest reviled him because he had no children. Ashamed and depressed by this, the gentle Joachim went to a remote hillside area and prayed fervently for a child. St. Anne, also, while she was in her garden prayed as well. Tradition says that while they prayed, the Archangel Gabriel came to them both and told them that God had heard their prayer, and that their child would be “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." In thanksgiving, they promised her to be consecrated to God and raised in the Temple. In utter joy, St. Joachim rushed home, met his wife at the city gate and embraced her and kissed her. This is a very common depiction in Eastern iconography. Shortly after, St. Anne conceived the Mother of God on December 8th, and gave birth nine months later on September 8th. At the age of three, Mary was taken to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord’s service. This Feast day is celebrated as the presentation of the Blessed Virgin to the Temple on November 21st.
Anne was to be the mother of the Virgin Mother of God, and hence nature did not dare to anticipate the flowering of grace. Thus nature remained sterile, until grace produced its fruit. For She who was to be born had to be a first born daughter, since she would be the Mother of the First-born of all creation, in whom all things are held together. The Feast of St. Anne is celebrated on July 26th.
Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste Mother, who alone was worthy of Him.
And so rejoice, Anne, that you were sterile and have not borne children; break forth into shouts, you who have not given birth. Rejoice, Joachim, because from your daughter a child is born for us, a son is given us, whose name is Messenger of great counsel and universal salvation, mighty God. For this Child is God.
Joachim and Anne, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: By their fruits you will know them. The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a Virgin before, during and after giving birth. She alone for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body.
Joachim and Anne, how chaste a couple! While safeguarding the chastity prescribed by the law of nature, you achieved with God’s help something which transcends nature in giving the world the Virgin Mother of God as your daughter. While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose Queen she now is. Girl of utter beauty and delight, daughter of Adam and Mother of God, blessed the loins and blessed the womb from which you come! Blessed the arms that carried you, and blessed your parents’ lips, which you were allowed to cover with chaste kisses, ever maintaining your virginity. Rejoice in God, all the earth. Sing, exult and sing hymns. Raise your voice, raise it and be not afraid.
- From a sermon by Saint John Damascene (675 -749 A.D.), bishop
Saint Anne is the patron saint of grandmothers and childless couples. O Lord, God of our Fathers,
who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace,
that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son,
grant, through the prayers of both,
that we may attain the salvation
you have promised to your people.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.