In the Life of the Church, on September 9th, we commemorate the Righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim & Anna (Virgin Mary's parents).
This commemoration follows the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8th).
This righteous God-loving couple, although commemorated at every Orthodox service (during the dismissal prayer), are sadly often overlooked. A beautiful example of obedience and faithful living. While living childless into their old age, being scorned by society for this fact, they remained faithful and pious. Praying to God for the blessing of a child, they received the great honor of giving birth to the Mother of God, the Even-Virgin Mary.
To commemorate these faithful saints, we were blessed to have about 40 people gather for Vespers at the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, part of the Menil Collection in the Houston area.
Enjoy the below reading of the hymnography of the Orthodox Church commemorating Ss Joachim & Anna:
Sticherion of "O Lord I have cried":
She who before was a barren land giveth birth to fertile ground, and having given forth a holy fruit from her fruitless womb, she nurtureth her with milk. O awesome wonder, the nourisher of our Life, who received the Bread from heaven in her womb is nourished with milk at her mother’s bosom.
Come, let us now join chorus with hymnody, O ye who love the feasts of the Church, and with faith let us hold festival, honoring the memory of Joachim and Anna, the honored couple; for they gave birth to the Mother of God for us, the pure Virgin. Wherefore, they have passed from the transitory things over to that which is incorrupt, to the mansions of ever-lasting life, praying that we be saved.
Today all creation is adorned with gladness, O most hymned Theotokos, offering up, with oneness of mind, the annual commemoration of thy parents, celebrating together the wondrous Joachim and Anna; for they have become mediators of joy, giving birth to thee against all hope, the nourisher of our Life, who hast caused the Light to shine forth.
Today Anna rejoiceth, leaping up in spirit, and she is filled with joyful gladness, having obtained her desire, the fertility which she had long cherished; for she put forth the fruit of the promise and blessing, the most immaculate Mary who gave birth to our God, to shine like the sun upon those who sit in darkness.
O blessed couple, ye have surpassed all parents, in that ye gave rise to her who transcendeth all creation. Truly blessed art thou, O Joachim, having become the father of such a maiden! And blessed is thy womb, O Anna, for thou hast put forth the Mother of our Life! Blessed is the bosom wherewith thou didst nourish with milk her who nurtured Him Who sustaineth all creation! Him do ye entreat, we beseech you, O most blessed one, that our souls find great mercy!
Troparion of Ss Joachim & Anna (Tone 1):
Joachim and Anna, who were righteous in the law of grace, have for us given birth unto a God-given babe. Wherefore, the divine Church keepeth splendid festival today, celebrating their honored memory with gladness, glorifying God Who hath lifted up the horn of salvation for us in the house of David.
Through the prayers of the Holy Righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim & Anna, O Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us.
- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director