The gospels are bereft of details regarding Mary’s parents – Jesus’ grandparents – not even offering their names. What we do know comes from writings excluded the canon of Scripture, in particular the Protogospel of James. Nevertheless, the cult of Saint Anne existed in the 6th century in the Church of Constantinople and early in the 8th century in Rome. In the 13th and 14th centuries, popular devotion to Anne increased, as seen by the number of churches bearing her name. At the request of some English bishops petitioned by parishioners, Pope Urban VI made her feast an annual celebration. Joachim has been honoured in the East from earliest days, but in the West only since the 16th century. Their names were entered into the Roman calendar in 1584.
A feast dedicated to Mary’s conception first appeared in the 7th century and by the 12th century it was firmly established in England. In the 13th century, great thinkers such as St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas debated whether Mary could have been born without original sin if, as St. Paul says, all persons are ...More
This celebration dates back to about the 4th century. Because his name is Greek, it is assumed Stephen was a Jew of the diaspora (Jewish communities outside Israel) who had resettled in Jerusalem. Stephen is the first-named among the seven deacons chosen to minister to Greek-speaking Christians in Jerusalem at the very dawn of the Christian church. He is ...More
Also known as John the Divine, the apostle John was the son of Zebedee and the brother of James, and a fisherman. John was very close to Jesus and was present at the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the Agony in the Garden. John is the “beloved disciple” referred to in the gospels. While ancient ...More