|Mother of the Virgin, Mystic, Maternal Heroine, Woman of Amram|
|Born||c. 50 BC|
|Died||12 AD (aged circa 62)|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
|Feast||26 July (Roman Catholic), 25 July (Eastern Orthodox)|
|Attributes||Book; door; with Mary, Jesus or Joachim; woman dressed in red or green|
|Patronage||Brittany, Canada, Detroit, Fasnia (Tenerife); Mainar; carpenters; child care providers; childless people; children; equestrians; grandparents; homemakers/housewives; lace makers; lost articles; miners; mothers; moving house; old-clothes dealers; poverty; pregnancy; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; teachers|
According to apocryphal Christian and Islamic tradition, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels. In writing, Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Gospel of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest that mentions them. The mother of Mary is mentioned, but not named, in the Quran.
The story bears a similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah (Hebrew: חַנָּה Ḥannāh "favour, grace"; etymologically the same name as Anne) had also been childless. Although Anne receives little attention in the Latin Church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Anne in Eastern Christianity occur as early as the 6th century. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hannah is ascribed the title Forebear of God, and both the Nativity of Mary and the Presentation of Mary are celebrated as two of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. The Dormition of Hannah is also a minor feast in Eastern Christianity. In Lutheran Protestantism, it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as an Augustinian friar after crying out to St. Anne while endangered by lightning.
Anne (Arabic: حنة Ḥannah) is also revered in Islam, recognized as a highly spiritual woman and as the mother of Mary. She is not named in the Quran, where she is referred to as "The wife of 'Imran. The Qur'an describes her remaining childless until her old age. One day, Hannah saw a bird feeding its young while sitting in the shade of a tree, which awakened her desire to have children of her own. She prayed for a child and eventually conceived; her husband, Imran, died before the child was born. Expecting the child to be male, Hannah vowed to dedicate him to isolation and service in the Second Temple.[N 1]
However, Hannah bore a daughter instead, and named her Mary. Her words upon delivering Mary reflect her status as a great mystic, realising that while she had wanted a son, this daughter was God's gift to her:
Then, when she brought forth she said: My Lord! Truly, I brought her forth, a female. And God is greater in knowledge of what she brought forth. And the male is not like the female. [...] So her Lord received her with the very best acceptance. And her bringing forth caused the very best to develop in her.[Quran 3:36–37 (Translated by Laleh Bakhtiar)]
Although the canonical books of the New Testament never mention the mother of the Virgin Mary, traditions about her family, childhood, education, and eventual betrothal to Joseph developed very early in the history of the church. The oldest and most influential source for these is the apocryphal Gospel of James, first written in Koine Greek around the middle of the second century AD. In the West, the Gospel of James fell under a cloud in the fourth and fifth centuries when it was accused of "absurdities" by Jerome and condemned as untrustworthy by Pope Damasus I, Pope Innocent I, and Pope Gelasius I.
Ancient belief, attested to by a sermon of John of Damascus, was that Anne married once. In the Late Middle Ages, legend held that Anne was married three times: first to Joachim, then to Clopas and finally to a man named Solomas and that each marriage produced one daughter: Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salome, respectively. The sister of Saint Anne was Sobe, mother of Elizabeth. In the fifteenth century, the Catholic cleric Johann Eck related in a sermon that St Anne's parents were named Stollanus and Emerentia. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) regards this genealogy as spurious.
In the 4th century and then much later in the 15th century, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anne by virgin birth, the Immaculate Conception, preserving Mary's body and soul intact and sinless from the first moment of existence. The Immaculate Conception, often confused with the Annunciation of the Incarnation (Mary's virgin birth of Jesus), was made doctrine in the Catholic church by a Pope Pius IX papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus, in 1854.
In the Eastern church, the cult of Anne herself may go back as far as c. 550, when Justinian built a church in Constantinople in her honor.
The earliest pictorial sign of her veneration in the West is an 8th-century fresco in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.
Virginia Nixon sees an economic incentive in the local promotion of the cult of St. Anne in order to attract pilgrims. The identification of Sepphoris as the birthplace of Mary may reflect competition with a similar site in Jerusalem. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of devotion to St. Anne in the West.
Two well-known shrines to St. Anne are that of Ste. Anne d'Auray in Brittany, France; and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupré near the city of Québec. The number of visitors to the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Beaupré is greatest on St Anne's Feast Day, 26 July, and the Sunday before Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8 September. In 1892, Pope Leo XIII sent a relic of St Anne to the church.
In Imperial Russia, the Order of St Anne was one of the leading state decorations.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, returning crusaders and pilgrims from the East brought relics of Anne to a number of churches, including most famously those at Apt, in Provence, Ghent, and Chartres. St. Anne's relics have been preserved and venerated in the many cathedrals and monasteries dedicated to her name, for example in Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Greece in Holy Mount and the city of Katerini. Medieval and baroque craftsmanship is evidenced in, for example, the metalwork of the life-size reliquaries containing the bones of her forearm. Examples employing folk art techniques are also known.
The Church of Saint Anne in Beit Guvrin National Park was built by the Byzantines and the Crusaders in the 12th century, known in Arabic as Khirbet (lit. "ruin") Sandahanna, the mound of Maresha being called Tell Sandahanna.
Saint Anne is patroness of unmarried women, housewives, women in labor or who want to be pregnant, grandmothers, educators and teachers. She is also a patroness of horseback riders, cabinet-makers and miners. As the mother of Mary, this devotion to Saint Anne as the patron of miners arises from the medieval comparison between Mary and Christ and the precious metals silver and gold. Anne's womb was considered the source from which these precious metals were mined. Saint Anne is also said to be a patron saint of sailors and a protector from storms.
She is also the patron saint of: Brittany (France), Chinandega (Nicaragua), the Mi'kmaq people of Canada, Castelbuono (Sicily), Quebec (Canada), Santa Ana (California), Norwich (Connecticut), Detroit (Michigan), Adjuntas (Puerto Rico), Santa Ana and Jucuarán (El Salvador), Berlin (New Hampshire), Santa Ana Pueblo, Seama, and Taos (New Mexico), Chiclana de la Frontera, Marsaskala, Tudela and Fasnia (Spain),Town of Sta Ana Province of Pampanga, Hagonoy, Santa Ana, Taguig City, Saint Anne Shrine, Malicboy, Pagbilao and Quezon (Philippines), Santana (Brazil), Saint Anne (Illinois), Sainte Anne Island, Baie Sainte Anne and Praslin Island (Seychelles), Bukit Mertajam and Port Klang (Malaysia), Kľúčové (Slovakia) and South Vietnam. The parish church of Vatican City is Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri. There is a shrine dedicated to Saint Anne in the Woods in Bristol, United Kingdom.
In John Everett Millais's 1849–50 work, Christ in the House of His Parents, Anne is shown in her son-in-law Joseph's carpentry shop caring for a young Jesus who had cut his hand on a nail. She joins her daughter Mary, Joseph, and a young boy who will later become known as John the Baptist in caring for the injured hand of Jesus.
The subject of Joachim and Anne The Meeting at the Golden Gate was a regular component of artistic cycles of the Life of the Virgin. The couple meet at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem and embrace. They are aware of Anne's pregnancy, of which they have been separately informed by an archangel. This moment stood for the conception of Mary, and the feast was celebrated on the same day as the Immaculate Conception. Art works representing the Golden Gate and the events leading up to it were influenced by the narrative in the widely read Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine. The Birth of Mary, the Presentation of Mary and the Marriage of the Virgin were usual components of cycles of the Life of the Virgin in which Anne is normally shown here.
Anne is never shown as present at the Nativity of Christ, but is frequently shown with the infant Christ in various subjects. She is sometimes believed to be depicted in scenes of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and the Circumcision of Christ, but in the former case, this likely reflects a misidentification through confusion with Anna the Prophetess. There was a tradition that Anne went (separately) to Egypt and rejoined the Holy Family after their Flight to Egypt. Anne is not seen with the adult Christ, so was regarded as having died during the youth of Jesus. Anne is also shown as the matriarch of the Holy Kinship, the extended family of Jesus, a popular subject in late medieval Germany; some versions of these pictorial and sculptural depictions include Emerentia who was reputed in the 15th Century to be Anne's mother. In modern devotions, Anne and her husband are invoked for protection for the unborn.
The role of the Messiah's grandparents in salvation history was commonly depicted in early medieval devotional art in a vertical double-Madonna arrangement known as the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne. Another typical subject has Anne teaching the Virgin Mary the Scriptures (see gallery below).
Annunciation to Anne mosaic, 12th century, Chora Church, Istanbul
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne in the Cathedral Museum of the Church of Santiago de Compostela
A French Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (15th-century) from Languedoc-Roussillon
Saint Anne (Die Heilige Anna) with child Jesus
Saint Anne and Virgin Mary. Josef Moroder-Lusenberg school (around 1890) in Badia.
The instruction of Mary. Catholic parish church of St. Martin in the district of Dillingen (Bavaria).
The Education of the Virgin. Guido Reni.
St. Anne teaching St. Mary. Josef Winterhalder the Younger.
The education of the Virgin. Eugène Delacroix.
The Education of the Virgin Mary. Jean Jouvenet.
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