the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of
Antioch, 1st c. A.D
Feast of St. Anne
July 26 is the
Feast of St. Anne, the woman who, with her husband St. Joachim, had the
great honor of bringing into
the world Our Lady, God's greatest Saint, and of being the grandmother
of the Savior of the World. What we know of her comes from Sacred
Tradition; Sacred Scripture is silent. But from the former source, we
learn that St. Anne, a woman of the tribe of Levi, was like Sarah,
Rebecca, and Rachel in that she didn't become a
mother easily. The apocryphal
Protoevangelium of St. James
describes how she was mocked for her barrenness, and how her husband
was shamed for not being a father. It describes St. Anne's
pain -- and the miracle that relieved it:
And Anna was
sore grieved and mourned with a great mourning because she was
reproached by all the tribes of Israel. And coming to herself she said:
What shall I do? I will pray with weeping unto the Lord my God that he
visit me. And she put off her mourning garments and adorned her head
and put on her bridal garments: and about the ninth hour she went down
into the garden to walk there. And she saw a laurel-tree and sat down
underneath it and besought the Lord saying: O God of our fathers, bless
me, and hearken unto my prayer, as thou didst bless the womb of Sarah,
and gavest her a son, even Isaac.
And looking up to the heaven she espied a nest of sparrows in
the laurel-tree, and made a lamentation within herself, saying: Woe
unto me, who begat me? And what womb brought me forth for I am become a
curse before the children of Israel, and I am reproached, and they have
mocked me forth out of the temple of the Lord?
Woe unto me, unto what am I likened? I am not likened unto
the fowls of the heaven, for even the fowls of the heaven are fruitful
before thee, O Lord. Woe unto me, unto what am I likened? I am not
likened unto the beasts of the earth, for even the beasts of the earth
are fruitful before thee, O Lord. Woe unto me, unto what am I likened?
I am not likened unto these waters, for even these waters are fruitful
before thee, O Lord.
Woe unto me, unto what am I likened ? I am not likened unto
this earth, for even this earth bringeth forth her fruits in due season
and blesseth thee, O Lord.
And behold an angel of the Lord appeared, saying unto her:
Anna, Anna, the Lord hath hearkened unto thy prayer, and thou shalt
conceive and bear, and thy seed shall be spoken of in the whole world.
Indeed! The whole world recalls the promised miracle when we celebrate
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 8. And by giving birth to our heavenly mother, St. Anne
our heavenly grandmother, and her husband, our heavenly grandfather.
Note that the "immaculate conception" refers to the conception of Our
Lady, not to the conception of Jesus. Our Lady was conceived in the
usual way, by her parents SS. Anne and Joachim, but at the very moment
she was conceived, she was filled with grace and saved from
the stain of original sin because God, being omniscient, knew from all
eternity that Mary would use her free will to utter her fiat and say
yes to allowing herself to be the woman who would bring the Messiah
into the world, a reality we recall on the Feast
of the Annunciation.
the Baptist, too, was born without the stain of original sin, but
he was so saved not at the moment of conception, but when his mother,
Elizabeth, met with the Blessed Virgin when both were carrying their
sons, an event we celebrate on the Feast of
So it is St. Anne's womb that is the site of the immaculate conception.
How holy she must be! La nonna di
tutte le nonne!
St. Anne is shown in art most often with the child Mary, typically teaching
her from Sacred Scripture. She is also often shown with her husband,
with Mary and the Christ Child together
(a type of iconography known as "metterza"),
with her husband at "the Golden Gate" (see the Feast of St. Joachim for
more about this), or with the rest of the Holy Family. She is the
patron Saint of women
trying to conceive, women seeking husbands ("Good St. Anne, send me a
man!"), married couples,
grandparents, widows, sailors, miners, and the Breton
people. The feast of her husband, St.
Joachim, is on August 16 (in the
Novus Ordo, they are both honored today).
Some may prepare for the day by praying the Novena
to St. Anne starting on July 17
and ending on July 25, the eve of this feast. For the feast itself,
this prayer from the Raccolta is fitting:
With deep and
heartfelt veneration I prostrate myself before thee, O glorious St
Anne. Thou art that creation of privilege and predilection, who through
extraordinary virtues and sanctity wast worthy to
receive from God the supreme grace of giving life to the
treasure-house of all graces, blessed among women, Mother of the Word
Incarnate, the most holy Virgin
Mary. Deign, therefore, O most compassionate saint, for the sake of
this lofty privilege, to
receive me into the number of thy true followers, for such I protest I
am and desire to remain so
long as I may live. Surround me with thy powerful patronage, and obtain
for me from God the grace to
imitate those virtues with which thou wast so abundantly adorned. Grant
that I may know and bitterly
lament my sins. Obtain for me a most lively affection for Jesus and
Mary, and fidelity and constancy in
the practice of the duties of my state. Preserve me from every danger
in life, and assist me in the
moment of my death, so that, safe in Paradise, I may unite with
thee, most blessed Mother, in praising the Word of God made man in the
bosom of thy most pure child, the Virgin Mary. Amen.
Aside from honoring our heavenly Grandmother, today is a good day to
consider the importance of our earthly grandparents, and to
honor the ones you have. If you are blessed to still have your
grandparents with you, when was the last time you called them?
visit? Sent them a card or gift? Do they know you love them? How?
And if you are a grandparent, how are you working to hand down to your
children and grandchildren all they need to know to get to Heaven? How
are you handing down to them their cultural heritage? Do you teach and
pray for them?
St. Anne and Breton
and French-Canadian Catholics
The biggest celebrations of the day are held by the French, especially
those from Bretagne (Brittany), and this page can't be complete without
mentioning two places that are
special to St. Anne.
The first is Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, in Auray, Bretagne,
Breton people have always had a special devotion to St. Anne, and she,
apparently, is devoted to
them in return. There'd been a chapel built to her in Auray way back in
century, but it fell victim to marauders and was forgotten. Then, in
1623, St. Anne appeared -- as a beautiful woman in white, and holding a
torch -- to a peasant named Yves Nicolazic, and she said to him:
I am Anne,
mother of Mary. Tell your rector that in the piece of land you call the
Bocenno, there was once a chapel dedicated in my name. It has been 984
years and six months since it was ruined. I desire that it be rebuilt
immediately and that you take charge of this care. God wants me to be
honored there. Soon you will see miracles in abundance and the influx
of people that will come to this place will be the greatest of all
She appeared numerous times, and to help him convince Church
authorities to build the chapel, she pointed out where he could find
buried the wooden
statue of her likeness that had once been in the 7th century chapel.
The statue was unearthed, and people came from all over to see it. And
then miracles abounded. The Church investigated, and a chapel was
was rebuilt in more grand fashion in 1864 and raised to the level of a
Now, special sorts of pilgrimages are made in Brittany, pilgrimages
called pardons. These
Breton-style pilgrimages to churches of various patron Saints are made
corporately at various times between March and Michaelmas, and have a
penitential nature -- i.e., they are made for the purpose of seeking
and gaining indulgences. But the
greatest pardon of all -- le Grand Pardon -- is
the one made to Auray in honor of St. Anne. On the eve of
her feast, many thousands of people -- often, still today, dressed in
their traditional costumes -- gather for Vespers, a torchlit procession of a statue
of St. Anne, and to receive the Sacrament of Confession. On her feast
itself, the pilgrims attend Mass very early, and then celebrate with
picnics and other festivities in
the basilica square. A song you may hear
if you make a pilgrimage there:
Sainte Anne, Ô Bonne Mere
Sainte Anne, Ô Bonne Mere
Vers toi montent nos chants,
Entends notre priere et
Benis tes enfants.
Ce lieu où ta présence
tourne nos cœurs vers Dieu,
nous comble d’espérance en
nous montrant les cieux.
Choisie par Dieu le Père,
pour nous donner Marie,
que ton exemple éclaire les cœurs
qui te supplient.
Fidèle à Sa promesse,
dans toute Sa sagesse
a regardé ton cœur.
Ta foi, ô bonne Mère, illuminait ta vie
et préparait la terre
à l’accueil du Messie.
St. Anne, O Good Mother
St. Anne, Good mother
To you our songs rise,
Hear our prayer and
Bless your children.
This place where your presence
turns our hearts to God,
fills us with hope by
showing us the heavens.
Chosen by God the Father,
to give us Mary,
may your example enlighten the hearts
that beseech you.
True to His promise,
in all His wisdom
has looked at your heart.
Your faith, oh good Mother, illuminated your life
and prepared the ground
for the reception of the Messiah.
And there is this lovely old song, one that sounds like a lullaby, but
which is sung to our Grandmother:
Veille, Weille Sur tes Enfants
Noble et Sainte patronne,
daigne entendre nos chants,
Toi, si douce et si bonne,
veilles sur tes enfants.
Veille, veille sur tes enfants
Veille, veille sur tes enfants
Dans ton beau sanctuaire,
Tu daignas nous bénir,
Près de toi, bonne Mère,
Nous voulons revenir.
Veille, veille sur tes enfants
Veille, veille sur tes enfants
Nous avons confiance
En ton nom glorieux,
Qui soutient l"espérance
Et la foi des aieux
St. Anne, Watch,
Watch Over Your Children
Noble and holy patron,
deign to hear our songs,
You, so sweet and so good,
Watch over your children.
Watch, watch over your children
Watch, watch over your children
In your beautiful sanctuary,
You deigned to bless us,
Close to you, good Mother,
We want to come back.
Watch, watch over your children
Watch, watch over your children
In your glorious name,
Which sustains hope
And the faith of our ancestors
The second place that is special to St. Anne is the Basilique
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupé,́ located about 22 miles northeast of Québec
City, Québec, Canada. This beautiful 20th century Art Deco basilica was
also built in response to a miracle -- and is the site of many more
miracles. The story begins in 1658, when Canada was being settled.
Newcomers from Brittany were on a boat in the St.
Lawrence River when a great storm arose. They begged St. Anne for her
help, and promised her they would build her a chapel if she would
intercede for them. She
did, and they followed through. And as they were building that chapel,
another miracle occurred: a man named Louis Guimont who was disabled
spinal troubles struggled anyway to help build the chapel. He laid one
stone, then another, and by the time he laid the third stone, he was
miraculously healed. After his cure came many more cures, and the place
became a place of pilgrimage as word
The shrine burned down in 1922, but a much greater church -- now a
basilica -- was built in its place, being
finished in 1946. If you visit, you will see hundreds of pairs of
crutches and even more ex-votos
left as testament to the miraculous cures that people have been blessed
with through the intercesion of our heavenly Grandmother.
Two different recipes for the day, both of which come from Bretagne.
The first is a simple butter cake; the second is a sort of a cross
between a flan and cake with dried plums:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) salted butter with a high fat
content, slightly softened*
6 large egg yolks, divided
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp almond extract
Butter an 8" cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. Mix
flour and sugar together. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to
the bowl. Chop the butter into the flour and sugar with a pastry
blender or two knives until the texture is like coarse crumbs. Beat the
5 egg yolks (and mix in with them any flavoring you're using), then add
them into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon to form a thick dough.
Put the dough into the prepared pan, set a piece of plastic wrap over
it, and press it down to spread the dough evenly. Refrigerate about 20
Mix the last yolk with 1 teaspoon water. Remove the plastic
wrap from the cake and use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cake
with the egg yolk. With a fork, score the surface of the cake with
criss-crossing parallel lines. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the
cake is a rich golden brown color. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10
minutes, then run a knife around the sides to release from the pan, and
unmold it onto a wire rack. Let it rest for a few hours.
* Ideally, a butter that is more than 82% butterfat
9 ounces pitted prunes
1 cup all-purpose flour
5/8 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons rum
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a shallow 2 quart
Place the pitted prunes in a saucepan with enough water to
cover. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the prunes are tender but
still hold their shape, about 10 minutes. Drain the prunes and arrange
them in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Whisk together the flour, white sugar, vanilla sugar, baking
powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs one at a time,
beating well after each addition. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring
vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the rum. Pour
the batter evenly over the prunes.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven
temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake until the filling is firm, has
risen a little, and the top is browned, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or
at room temperature. (Recipe adapted from AllRecipes)
* To substitute for 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar, mix 1/4
teaspoon of vanilla extract with one tablespoon of granulated sugar
In Jelsi, Campobasso, Molise, Italy, "Sant'Anna" has been honored in a
special way since 1805, when the town was spared from an earthquake
happened on her feast day. Because Jelsi is an agricultural town, the
most precious thing the people had to offer was the grain they grew, so
St. Anne is honored with the "feast of grain" (la festa del grano). A big sled (traglia) is decorated with sheaves
of grain that have been soaked in water to become pliable, and then
twisted and braided into various intricate shapes and "sculpture." The
seeds are also used to make equally intricate mosaics. These
golden-hued works of art adorn not only the sled, but the town's
streets and squares. After Mass, a statue of St. Anne is placed on the
sled, the sled is blessed, and a procession is made that includes young
women wearing their traditional costumes, smaller sleds decorated by
children, and pack animals that carry grain on their backs. Three
fireworks displays are had throughout the day.
Finally, for those living in the United States, there are shrines to
St. Anne in various places around the country. Among them are:
the Shrine of
St. Anne in Fall River, Massachusetts, built when French Canadians
migrated to work in the mills there (note that Fall River is also where
the infamous Lizzie Borden once lived)
Shrine of St. Anne at St. Jean Baptiste Church in New York City
Monastery and Shrine Basilica in Scranton, Pennsylvania
St. Ann Church
and Shrine in Metairie, Louisiana
Shrine of St. Anne at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Chicago,
The blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, sprung from the royal stock
and family of David, born in the city of Nazareth, was brought up at
Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord. Her father was named Joachim, and
her mother Anna. Her father's house was from Galilee and the city of
Nazareth, but her mother's family from Bethlehem. Their life was
guileless and right before the Lord, and irreproachable and pious
before men. For they divided all their substance into three parts. One
part they spent upon the temple and the temple servants; another they
distributed to strangers and the poor; the third they reserved, for
themselves and the necessities of their family. Thus, dear to God, kind
to men, for about twenty years they lived in their own house, a chaste
married life, without having any children. Nevertheless they vowed
that, should the Lord happen to give them offspring, they would deliver
it to the service of the Lord; on which account also they used to visit
the temple of the Lord at each of the feasts during the year.
And it came to pass that the festival of the dedication was at hand;
wherefore also Joachim went up to Jerusalem with some men of his own
tribe. Now at that time Issachar was high priest there. And when he saw
Joachim with his offering among his other fellow-citizens, he despised
him, and spurned his gifts, asking why he, who had no offspring,
presumed to stand among those who had; saying that his gifts could not
by any means be acceptable to God, since He had deemed him unworthy of
off-spring: for the Scripture said, Cursed is every one who has not
begot a male or a female in Israel. He said, therefore, that he ought
first to be freed from this curse by the begetting of children; and
then, and then only, that be should come into the presence of the Lord
with his offerings. And Joachim, covered with shame from this reproach
that was thrown in his teeth, retired to the shepherds, who were in
their pastures with their flocks; nor would he return home, test
perchance he might be branded with the same reproach by those of his
own tribe, who were there at the time, and had heard this from the
Now, when he had been there for some time, on a certain day when he was
alone, an angel of the Lord stood by him in a great light. And when he
was disturbed at his appearance, the angel who had appeared to him
restrained his fear, saying: Fear not, Joachim, nor be disturbed by my
appearance; for I am the angel of the Lord, sent by Him to thee to tell
thee that thy prayers have been heard, and that thy charitable deeds
have gone up into His presence. For He hath seen thy shame, and hath
heard the reproach of unfruitfulness which has been unjustly brought
against thee. For God is the avenger of sin, not of nature: and,
therefore, when He shuts up the womb of any one, He does so that He may
miraculously open it again; so that that which is born may be
acknowledged to be not of lust, but of the gift of God. For was it not
the case that the first mother of your nation-Sarah-was barren up to
her eightieth year? And, nevertheless, in extreme old age she brought
forth Isaac, to whom the promise was renewed of the blessing of all
nations. Rachel also, so favoured of the Lord, and so beloved by holy
Jacob, was long barren; and yet she brought forth Joseph, who was not
only the lord of Egypt, but the deliverer of many nations who were
ready to perish of hunger. Who among the judges was either stronger
than Samson, or more holy than Samuel? And yet the mothers of both were
barren. If, therefore, the reasonableness of my words does not persuade
thee, believe in fact that conceptions very late in life, and births in
the case of women that have been barren, are usually attended with
something wonderful. Accordingly thy wife Anna will bring forth a
daughter to thee, and thou shall call her name Mary: she shall be, as
you have vowed, consecrated to the Lord from her infancy, and she shall
be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from her mother's womb. She shall
neither eat nor drink any unclean thing, nor shall she spend her life
among the crowds of the people without, but in the temple of the Lord,
that it may not be possible either to say, or so much as to suspect,
any evil concerning her. Therefore, when she has grown up, just as she
herself shall be miraculously born of a barren woman, so in an
incomparable manner she, a virgin, shall bring forth the Son of the
Most High, who shall be called Jesus, and who, according to the
etymology of His name, shall be the Saviour of all nations. And this
shall be the sign to thee of those things which I announce: When thou
shalt come to the Golden gate in Jerusalem, thou shalt there meet Anna
thy wife, who, lately anxious from the delay of thy return, will then
rejoice at the sight of thee. Having thus spoken, the angel departed
Thereafter he appeared to Anna his wife, saying: Fear not, Anna, nor
think that it is a phantom which thou seest. For I am that angel who
has presented your prayers and alms before God; and now have I been
sent to you to announce to you that thou shalt bring forth a daughter,
who shall be called Mary, and who shall be blessed above all women.
She, full of the favour of the Lord even from her birth, shall remain
three years in her father's house until she be weaned. Thereafter,
being delivered to the service of the Lord, she shall not depart from
the temple until she reach the years of discretion. There, in fine,
serving God day and night in fastings and prayers, she shall abstain
from every unclean thing; she shall never know man, but alone, without
example, immaculate, uncorrupted, without intercourse with man, she, a
virgin, shall bring forth a son; she, His hand-maiden, shall bring
forth the Lord-both in grace, and in name, and in work, the Saviour of
the world. Wherefore arise, and go up to Jerusalem; and when thou shalt
come to the gate which, because it is plated with gold, is called
Golden, there, for a sign, thou shalt meet thy husband, for whose
safety thou hast been anxious. And when these things shall have so
happened, know that what I announce shall without doubt be fulfilled.
Therefore, as the angel had commanded, both of them setting out from
the place where they were, went up to Jerusalem; and when they had come
to the place pointed out by the angel's prophecy, there they met each
other. Then, rejoicing at seeing each other, and secure in the
certainty of the promised offspring, they gave the thanks due to the
Lord, who exalteth the humble. And so, having worshipped the Lord, they
returned home, and awaited in certainty and in gladness the divine
promise. Anna therefore conceived, and brought forth a daughter; and
according to the command of the angel, her parents called her name Mary.
And when the circle of three years had rolled round, and the time of
her weaning was fulfilled, they brought the virgin to the temple of the
Lord with offerings. Now there were round the temple, according to the
fifteen Psalms of Degrees, fifteen steps going up; for, on account of
the temple having been built on a mountain, the altar of
burnt-offering, which stood outside, could not be reached except by
steps. On one of these, then, her parents placed the little girl, the
blessed virgin Mary. And when they were putting off the clothes which
they had worn on the journey, and were putting on, as was usual, others
that were neater and cleaner, the virgin of the Lord went up all the
steps, one after the other, without the help of any one leading her or
lifting her, in such a manner that, in this respect at least, you would
think that she had already attained full age. For already the Lord in
the infancy of His virgin wrought a great thing, and by the indication
of this miracle foreshowed how great she was to be. Therefore, a
sacrifice having been offered according to the custom of the law, and
their vow being perfected, they left the virgin within the enclosures
of the temple, there to be educated with the other virgins, and
themselves returned home.
But the virgin of the Lord advanced in age and in virtues; and though,
in the words of the Psalmist, her father and mother had forsaken her,
the Lord took her up. For daily was she visited by angels, daily did
she enjoy a divine vision, which preserved her from all evil, and made
her to abound in all good. And so she reached her fourteenth year; and
not only were the wicked unable to charge her with anything worthy of
reproach, but all the good, who knew her life and conversation, judged
her to be worthy of admiration. Then the high priest publicly announced
that the virgins who were publicly settled in the temple, and had
reached this time of life, should return home and get married,
according to the custom of the nation and the ripeness of their years.
The others readily obeyed this command; but Mary alone, the virgin of
the Lord, answered that she could not do this, saying both that her
parents had devoted her to the service of the Lord, and that, moreover,
she herself had made to the Lord a vow of virginity, which she would
never violate by any intercourse with man. And the high priest, being
placed in great perplexity of mind, seeing that neither did he think
that the vow should be broken contrary to the Scripture, which says,
Vow and pay, nor did he dare to introduce a custom unknown to the
nation, gave order that at the festival, which was at hand, all the
chief persons from Jerusalem and the neighbourhood should be present,
in order that from their advice he might know what was to be done in so
doubtful a case. And when this took place, they resolved unanimously
that the Lord should be consulted upon this matter. And when they all
bowed themselves in prayer, the high priest went to consult God in the
usual way. Nor had they long to wait: in the hearing of all a voice
issued from the oracle and from the mercy-seat, that, according to the
prophecy of Isaiah, a man should be sought out to whom the virgin ought
to be entrusted and espoused. For it is clear that Isaiah says: A rod
shall come forth from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall ascend from
his root; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the
spirit of wisdom and piety; and he shall be filled with the spirit of
the fear of the Lord. According to this prophecy, therefore, he
predicted that all of the house and family of David that were unmarried
and fit for marriage should bring there rods to the altar; and that he
whose rod after it was brought should produce a flower, and upon the
end of whose rod the Spirit of the Lord should settle in the form of a
dove, was the man to whom the virgin ought to be entrusted and espoused.
Now there was among the rest Joseph, of the house and family of David,
a man of great age: and when all brought there rods, according to the
order, he alone withheld his. Wherefore, when nothing in conformity
with the divine voice appeared, the high priest thought it necessary to
consult God a second time; and He answered, that of those who had been
designated, he alone to whom the virgin ought to be espoused had not
brought his rod. Joseph, therefore, was found out. For when he had
brought his rod, and the dove came from heaven; and settled upon the
top of it, it clearly appeared to all that he was the man to whom the
virgin should be espoused. Therefore, the usual ceremonies of betrothal
having been gone through, he went back to the city of Bethlehem to put
his house in order, and to procure things necessary for the marriage.
But Mary, the virgin of the Lord, with seven other virgins of her own
age, and who had been weaned at the same time, whom she had received
from the priest, returned to the house of her parents in Galilee.
And in those days, that is, at the time of her first coming into
Galilee, the angel Gabriel was sent to her by God, to announce to her
the conception of the Lord, and to explain to her the manner and order
of the conception. Accordingly, going in, he filled the chamber where
she was with a great light; and most courteously saluting her, he said:
Hail, Mary! O virgin highly favoured by the Lord, virgin full of grace,
the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou above all women, blessed above
all men that have been hitherto born. And the virgin, who was already
well acquainted with angelic faces, and was not unused to the light
from heaven, was neither terrified by the vision of the angel, nor
astonished at the greatness of the light, but only perplexed by his
words; and she began to consider of what nature a salutation so unusual
could be, or what it could portend, or what end it could have. And the
angel, divinely inspired, taking up this thought, says: Fear not, Mary,
as if anything contrary to thy chastity were hid under this salutation.
For in choosing chastity, thou hast found favour with the Lord; and
therefore thou, a virgin, shalt conceive without sin, and shalt bring
forth a son. He shall be great, because He shall rule from sea to sea,
and from the river even to the ends of the earth; and He shall be
called the Son of the Most High, because He who is born on earth in
humiliation, reigns in heaven in exaltation; and the Lord God will give
Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign in the house of
Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end; forasmuch as
He is King of kings and Lord of lords, and His throne is from
everlasting to everlasting. The virgin did not doubt these words of the
angel; but wishing to know the manner of it, she answered: How can that
come to pass? For while, according to my vow, I never know man, how can
I bring forth without the addition of man's seed? To this the angel
says: Think not, Mary, that thou shalt conceive in the manner of
mankind: for without any intercourse with man, thou, a virgin, wilt
conceive; thou, a virgin, wilt bring forth; thou, a virgin, wilt nurse:
for the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most
High shall overshadow thee, without any of the heats of lust; and
therefore that which shall be born of thee shall alone be holy, because
it alone, being conceived and born without sin, shall be called the Son
of God. Then Mary stretched forth her hands, and raised her eyes to
heaven, and said: Behold the hand-maiden of the Lord, for I am not
worthy of the name of lady; let it be to me according to thy word.
It will be long, and perhaps to some even tedious, if we insert in this
little work every thing which we read of as having preceded or followed
the Lord's nativity: wherefore, omitting those things which have been
more fully written in the Gospel, let us come to those which are held
to be less worthy of being narrated.
Joseph therefore came from Judaea into Galilee, intending to marry the
virgin who had been betrothed to him; for already three months had
elapsed, and it was the beginning of the fourth since she had been
betrothed to him. In the meantime, it was evident from her shape that
she was pregnant, nor could she conceal this from Joseph. For in
consequence of his being betrothed to her, coming to her more freely
and speaking to her more familiarly, he found out that she was with
child. He began then to be in great doubt and perplexity, because he
did not know what was best for him to do. For, being a just man, he was
not willing to expose her; nor, being a pious man, to injure her fair
fame by a suspicion of fornication. He came to the conclusion,
therefore, privately to dissolve their contract, and to send her away
secretly. And while he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the
Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not; that is, do not have any suspicion of fornication in the
virgin, or think any evil of her; and fear not to take her as thy wife:
for that which is begotten in her, and which now vexes thy soul, is the
work not of man, but of the Holy Spirit. For she alone of all virgins
shall bring forth the Son of God, and thou shalt call His name Jesus,
that is, Saviour; for He shall save His people from their sins.
Therefore Joseph, according to the command of the angel, took the
virgin as his wife; nevertheless he knew her not, but took care of her,
and kept her in chastity. And now the ninth month from her conception
was at hand, when Joseph, taking with him his wife along with what
things he needed, went to Bethlehem, the city from which he came. And
it came to pass, while they were there, that her days were fulfilled
that she should bring forth; and she brought forth her first-born son,
as the holy evangelists have shown, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the
Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns God from
everlasting to everlasting.
The Protoevangelium of St. James
ca. A.D. 125
1 In the histories of the twelve tribes of Israel it is written that
there was one Ioacim, exceeding rich: and he offered his gifts twofold,
saying: That which is of my superfluity shall be for the whole people,
and that which is for my forgiveness shall be for tile Lord, for a
propitiation unto me.
2 Now the great day of the Lord drew nigh and the children of Israel
offered their gifts. And Reuben stood over against him saying: It is
not lawful for thee to offer thy gifts first,-forasmuch as thou hast
gotten no seed in Israel.
3 And Ioacim was sore grieved, and went unto the record of the twelve
tribes of the people, saying: I will look upon the record of the twelve
tribes of Israel, whether I only have not gotten seed in Israel. And he
searched, and found concerning all the righteous that they had raised
up seed in Israel. And he remembered the patriarch Abraham, how in the
last days God gave him a son, even Isaac.
4 And Ioacim was sore grieved, and showed not himself to his wife, but
betook himself into the wilderness, and pitched his tent there, and
fasted forty days and forty nights, saying within himself: I will not
go down either for meat or for drink until the Lord my God visit me,
and my prayer shall be unto me meat and drink.
1 Now his wife Anna lamented with two lamentations, and bewailed
herself with two bewailings, saying: I will bewail my widowhood, and I
will bewail my childlessness.
2 And the great day of the Lord drew nigh, and Judith her handmaid said
unto her: How long humblest thou thy soul? The great day of the Lord
hath come, and it is not lawful for thee to mourn: but take this
headband, which the mistress of my work gave me, and it is not lawful
for me to put it on, forasmuch as I am an handmaid, and it hath a mark
of royalty. And Anna said: Get thee from me. Lo! I have not done such
things and the Lord hath greatly humbled me: peradventure one gave it
to thee in subtilty, and thou art come to make me partaker in thy sin.
And Judith said: How shall I curse thee, seeing the Lord hath shut up
thy womb, to give thee no fruit in Israel?
3 And Anna was sore grieved and mourned with a great mourning because
she was reproached by all the tribes of Israel. And coming to herself
she said: What shall I do? I will pray with weeping unto the Lord my
God that he visit me. And she put off her mourning garments and adorned
her head and put on her bridal garments: and about the ninth hour she
went down into the garden to walk there. And she saw a laurel-tree and
sat down underneath it and besought the Lord saying: O God of our
fathers, bless me, and hearken unto my prayer, as thou didst bless the
womb of Sarah, and gavest her a son, even Isaac.
1 And looking up to the heaven she espied a nest of sparrows in the
laurel-tree, and made a lamentation within herself, saying: Woe unto
me, who begat me? And what womb brought me forth for I am become a
curse before the children of Israel, and I am reproached, and they have
mocked me forth out of the temple of the Lord?
2 Woe unto me, unto what am I likened? I am not likened unto the fowls
of the heaven, for even the fowls of the heaven are fruitful before
thee, O Lord. Woe unto me, unto what am I likened? I am not likened
unto the beasts of the earth, for even the beasts of the earth are
fruitful before thee, O Lord. Woe unto me, unto what am I likened? I am
not likened unto these waters, for even these waters are fruitful
before thee, O Lord.
3 Woe unto me, unto what am I likened ? I am not likened unto this
earth, for even this earth bringeth forth her fruits in due season and
blesseth thee, O Lord.
1 And behold an angel of the Lord appeared, saying unto her: Anna,
Anna, the Lord hath hearkened unto thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive
and bear, and thy seed shall be spoken of in the whole world. And Anna
said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I bring forth either male or
female, I will bring it for a gift unto the Lord my God, and it shall
be ministering unto him all the days of its life.
2 And behold there came two messengers saying unto her: Behold Ioacim
thy husband cometh with his flocks: for an angel of the Lord came down
unto him saying: Ioacim, Ioacim, the Lord God hath hearkened unto thy
prayer. Get thee down hence, for behold thy wife Anna hath conceived.
3 And Ioacim sat him down and called his herdsmen saying: Bring me
hither ten lambs without blemish and without spot, and they shall be
for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall
be for the priests and for the assembly of the elders; and an hundred
kids for the whole people.
4 And behold Ioacim came with his flocks, and Anna stood at the gate
and saw Ioacim coming, and ran and hung upon his neck, saying: Now know
I that the Lord God hath greatly blessed me: for behold the widow is no
more a widow, and she that was childless shall conceive. And Ioacim
rested the first day in his house.
1 And on the morrow he offered his gifts, saying in himself: If the
Lord God be reconciled unto me, the plate that is upon the forehead of
the priest will make it manifest unto me. And Ioacim offered his gifts
and looked earnestly upon the plate of the priest when he went up unto
the altar of tile Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Ioacim said:
Now know I that the Lord is become propitious unto me and hath forgiven
all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified,
and went unto his house.
2 And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought
forth. And she said unto the midwife: what have I brought forth? And
she said: A female. And Anna said: My soul is magnified this day, and
she laid herself down. And when the days were fulfilled, Anna purified
herself and gave suck to the child and called her name Mary.
1 And day by day the child waxed strong, and when she was six months
old her mother stood her upon the ground to try if she would stand; and
she walked seven steps and returned unto her bosom. And she caught her
up, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, thou shalt walk no more upon
this ground, until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she
made a sanctuary in her bed chamber and suffered nothing common or
unclean to pass through it. And she called for the daughters of the
Hebrews that were undefiled, and they carried her hither and thither.
2 And the first year of the child was fulfilled, and Ioacim made a
great feast and bade the priests and the scribes and the assembly of
the elders and the whole people of Israel. And Ioacim brought the child
to the priests, and they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers,
bless this child and give her a name renowned for ever among all
generations. And all the people said: So be it, so be it. Amen. And he
brought her to the high priests, and they blessed her, saying: O God of
the high places, look upon this child, and bless her with the last
blessing which hath no successor.
3 And her mother caught her up into the sanctuary of her bed chamber
and gave her suck.
And Anna made a song unto the Lord God, saying:
I will sing an hymn unto the Lord my God, because he hath visited me
and taken away from me the reproach of mine enemies, and the Lord hath
given me a fruit of his righteousness, single and manifold before him.
Who shall declare unto the sons of Reuben that Anna giveth suck?
Hearken, hearken, ye twelve tribes of Israel, that Anna giveth suck.
And she laid the child to rest in the bed chamber of her sanctuary, and
went forth and ministered unto them. And when the feast was ended, they
gat them down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.
1 And unto the child her months were added: and the child became two
years old. And Ioacim said: Let us bring her up to the temple of the
Lord that we may pay the promise which we promised; lest the Lord
require it of us, and our gift become unacceptable. And Anna said: Let
us wait until the third year, that the child may not long after her
father or mother. And Ioacim said: Let us wait.
2 And the child became three years old, and Ioacim said: Call for the
daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take every
one a lamp, and let them be burning, that the child turn not backward
and her heart be taken captive away from the temple of the Lord. And
they did so until they were gone up into the temple of the Lord.
And the priest received her and kissed her and blessed her and said:
The Lord hath magnified thy name among all generations: in thee in the
latter days shall the Lord make manifest his redemption unto the
children of Israel. And he made her to sit upon the third step of the
altar. And the Lord put grace upon her and she danced with her feet and
all tile house of Israel loved her.
1 And her parents gat them down marveling, and praising the Lord God
because tile child was not turned away backward.
And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as a dove that is nurtured: and
she received food from the hand of an angel.
2 And when she was twelve years old, there was a council of the
priests, saying: Behold Mary is become twelve years old in the temple
of the Lord. What then shall we do with her ? lest she pollute the
sanctuary of the Lord. And they said unto the high priest: Thou
standest over the altar of the Lord. Enter in and pray concerning her:
And whatsoever the Lord shall reveal to thee, that let us do.
3 And the high priest took the vestment with the twelve bells and went
in unto the Holy of Holies and prayed concerning her. And lo, an angel
of tile Lord appeared saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias~ go forth
and assemble them that are widowers of the people, and let them bring
every man a rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife
shall she be. And the heralds went forth over all the country round
about Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all men ran
1 And Joseph cast down his axe and ran to meet them, and when they were
gathered together they went to the high priest and took their rods with
them. And he took the rods of them all and went into the temple and
prayed. And when he had finished the prayer he took the rods and went
forth and gave them back to them: and there was no sign upon them. But
Joseph received the last rod: and lo, a dove came forth of the rod and
flew upon the bead of Joseph. And the priest said unto Joseph: Unto
thee hath it fallen to take the virgin of the Lord and keep her for
2 And Joseph refused, saying: I have sons, and I am an old man, but she
is a girl: lest I became a laughing-stock to the children of Israel.
And the priest said unto Joseph: Year the Lord thy God, and remember
what things God did unto Dathan and Abiram and Korah, how the earth
clave and they were swallowed up because of their gainsaying. And now
fear thou, Joseph, lest it be so in thine house. And Joseph was afraid,
and took her to keep her for himself. And Joseph said unto Mary: Lo, I
have received thee out of the temple of the Lord: and now do I leave
thee in my house, and I go away to build my buildings and I will come
again unto thee. The Lord shall watch over thee.
1 Now there was a council of the priests, and they said: Let us make a
veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call unto me pure
virgins of the tribe of David. And the officers departed and sought and
found seven virgins. And the priests called to mind the child Mary,
that she was of the tribe of avid and was undefiled before God: and the
officers went and fetched her. And they brought them into the temple of
the Lord, and the priest said: Cast me lots, which of you shah weave
the gold and the undefiled (the white) and tile fine linen and the silk
and the hyacinthine, and the scarlet and the true purple. And the lot
of the true purple and the scarlet fell unto Mary, and she took them
and went unto her house.
And at that season Zacharias became dumb, and Samuel was in his stead
until the time when Zacharias spake again. But Mary took the scarlet
and began to spin it.
1 And she took the pitcher and went forth to fill it with water: and lo
a voice saying: Hail, thou that art highly favoured; the Lord is with
thee: blessed art thou among women.
And she looked about her upon the right hand and upon the left, to see
whence this voice should be: and being filled with trembling she~ went
to her house and set down the pitcher, and took the purple and sat down
upon her seat and drew out the thread.
2 And behold an angel of the Lord stood before her saying: Fear not,
Mary, for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all things, and thou
shalt conceive of his word. And she, when she heard it, questioned in
herself, saying: Shall I verily conceive of the living God, and bring
forth after the manner of all women? And the angel of the Lord said:
Not so, Mary, for a power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore
also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the
Son of the Highest. And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall
save his people from their sins. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of
the Lord is before him: be it unto me according to thy word.
1 And she made the purple and the scarlet and brought them unto the
priest. And the priest blessed her and said: Mary, the Lord God hath
magnified thy name, and thou shalt be blessed among all generations of
2 And Mary rejoiced and went away unto Elizabeth her kinswoman: and she
knocked at the door. And Elizabeth when she heard it cast down the
scarlet and ran to the door and opened it, and when she saw Mary she
blessed her and said: Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord
should come unto me? for behold that which is in me leaped and blessed
thee. And Mary forgot the mysteries which Gabriel the archangel had
told her, and she looked up unto the heaven and said: Who am I, Lord,
that all the generations of the earth do bless me?
3 And she abode three months with Elizabeth, and day by day her womb
grew: and Mary was afraid and departed unto her house and hid herself
from the children of Israel. Now she was sixteen years old when these
mysteries came to pass.
1 Now it was the sixth month with her, and behold Joseph came from his
building, and he entered into his house and found her great with child.
And he smote his face, and cast himself down upon the ground on
sackcloth and wept bitterly, saying: With what countenance shall I look
unto the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make concerning this
maiden? for I received her out of the temple of the Lord my God a
virgin, and have not kept her safe. Who is he that hath ensnared me?
Who hath done this evil in mine house and hath defiled the virgin? Is
not the story of Adam repeated in me ? for as at the hour of his giving
thanks the serpent came and found Eve alone and deceived her, so hath
it befallen me also.
2 And Joseph arose from off the sackcloth and called Mary and said unto
her O thou that wast cared for by God, why hast thou done this? thou
hast forgotten the Lord thy God. Why hast thou humbled thy soul, thou
that wast nourished up in the Holy of Holies and didst receive food at
the hand of an angel?
3 But she wept bitterly, saying: I am pure and I know not a man. And
Joseph said unto her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb ? and
she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I know not whence it is come unto
I And Joseph was sore afraid and ceased from speaking unto her (or left
her alone), and pondered what he should do with her. And Joseph said:
If I hide her sin, I shall be found fighting against the law of the
Lord: and if I manifest her unto the children of Israel, I fear lest
that which is in her be the seed of an angel, and I shall be found
delivering up innocent blood to the judgement of death. What then shall
I do ? I will let her go from me privily. And the night came upon him.
2 And behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying:
Fear not this child, for that which is in her is of the Holy Ghost, and
she shall bear a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall
save his people from their sins. And Joseph arose from sleep and
glorified the God of Israel which had shown this favour unto her: and
he watched over her.
I Now Annas the scribe came unto him and said to him: Wherefore didst
thou not appear in our assembly? and Joseph said unto him: I was weary
with the journey, and I rested the first day. And Annas turned him
about and saw Mary great with child.
2 And he went hastily to the priest and said unto him: Joseph, to whom
thou bearest witness [that he is righteous] hath sinned grievously. And
the priest said: Wherein ? And he said: The virgin whom he received out
of the temple of the Lord, he hath defiled her, and married her by
stealth (lit. stolen her marriage), and hath not declared it to the
children of Israel. And the priest answered and said: Hath Joseph done
this? And Annas the scribe said: Send officers, and thou shalt find the
virgin great with child. And the officers went and found as he had
said, and they brought her together with Joseph unto the place of
3 And the priest said: Mary, wherefore hast thou done this, and
wherefore hast thou humbled thy soul and forgotten the Lord thy God,
thou that wast nurtured in the Holy of Holies and didst receive food at
the hand of an angel and didst hear the hymns and didst dance before
the Lord, wherefore hast thou done this?
But she wept bitterly, saying: As the Lord my God liveth I am pure
before him and I know not a man.
4 And the priest said unto Joseph: Wherefore hast thou done this? And
Joseph said: As the Lord my God liveth I am pure as concerning her. And
the priest said: Bear no false witness but speak the truth: thou hast
married her by stealth and hast not declared it unto the children of
Israel, and hast not bowed thine head under the mighty hand that thy
seed should be blessed. And Joseph held his peace.
1 And the priest said: Restore the virgin whom thou didst receive out
of the temple of the Lord. And Joseph was full of weeping. And the
priest said: I will give you to drink of the water of the conviction of
the Lord, and it will make manifest your sins before your eyes.
2 And the priest took thereof and made Joseph drink and sent him into
the hill-country. And he returned whole. He made Mary also drink and
sent her into the hill-country. And she returned whole. And all the
people marvelled, because sin appeared not in them.
3 And the priest said: If the Lord God hath not made your sin manifest,
neither do I condemn you. And he let them go. And Joseph took Mary and
departed unto his house rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.
1 Now there went out a decree from Augustus the king that all that were
in Bethlehem of Judaea should be recorded. And Joseph said: I will
record my sons: but this child, what shall I do with her? how shall I
record her? as my wife? nay, I am ashamed. Or as my daughter? but all
the children of Israel know that she is not my daughter. This day of
the Lord shall do as the Lord willeth.
2 And he saddled the she-ass, and set her upon it, and his son led it
and Joseph followed after. And they drew near (unto Bethlehem) within
three miles: and Joseph turned himself about and saw her of a sad
countenance and said within himself: Peradventure that which is within
her paineth her. And again Joseph turned himself about and saw her
laughing, and said unto her: Mary, what aileth thee that I see thy face
at one time laughing and at another time sad? And Mary said unto
Joseph: It is because I behold two peoples with mine eyes, the one
weeping and lamenting and the other rejoicing and exulting.
3 And they came to the midst of the way, and Mary said unto him: Take
me down from the ass, for that which is within me presseth me, to come
forth. And he took her down from the ass and said unto her: Whither
shall I take thee to hide thy shame? for the place is desert.
I And he found a cave there and brought her into it, and set his sons
by her: and he went forth and sought for a midwife of the Hebrews in
the country of Bethlehem.
2 Now I Joseph was walking, and I walked not. And I looked up to the
air and saw the air in amazement. And I looked up unto the pole of the
heaven and saw it standing still, and the fowls of the heaven without
motion. And I looked upon the earth and saw a dish set, and workmen
lying by it, and their hands were in the dish: and they that were
chewing chewed not, and they that were lifting the food lifted it not,
and they that put it to their mouth put it not thereto, but the faces
of all of them were looking upward. And behold there were sheep being
driven, and they went not forward but stood still; and the shepherd
lifted his hand to smite them with his staff, and his hand remained up.
And I looked upon the stream of the river and saw the mouths of the
kids upon the water and they drank not. And of a sudden all things
moved onward in their course.
I And behold a woman coming down from the hillcountry, and she said to
me: Man, whither goest thou? And I said: I seek a midwife of the
Hebrews. And she answered and said unto me: Art thou of Israel? And I
said unto her: Yea. And she said: And who is she that bringeth forth in
the cave? And I said: She that is betrothed unto me. And she said to
me: Is she not thy wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was
nurtured up in the temple of the Lord: and I received her to wife by
lot: and she is not my wife, but she hath conception by the Holy Ghost.
And the midwife said unto him: Is this the truth? And Joseph said unto
her: Come hither and see. And the midwife went with him.
2 And they stood in the place of the cave: and behold a bright cloud
overshadowing the cave. And the midwife said: My soul is magnified this
day, because mine eyes have seen marvellous things: for salvation is
born unto Israel. And immediately the cloud withdrew itself out of the
cave, and a great light appeared in the cave so that our eyes could not
endure it. And by little and little that light withdrew itself until
the young child appeared: and it went and took the breast of its mother
Mary. And the midwife cried aloud and said: Great unto me to-day is
this day, in that I have seen this new sight.
3 And the midwife went forth of the cave and Salome met her. And she
said to her: Salome, Salome, a new sight have I to tell thee. A virgin
hath brought forth, which her nature alloweth not. And Salome said: As
the Lord my God liveth, if I make not trial and prove her nature I will
not believe that a virgin hath brought forth.
1 And the midwife went in and said unto Mary: Order thyself, for there
is no small contention arisen concerning thee. Arid Salome made trial
and cried out and said: Woe unto mine iniquity and mine unbelief,
because I have tempted the living God, and lo, my hand falleth away
from me in fire. And she bowed her knees unto the Lord, saying: O God
of my fathers, remember that I am the seed of Abraham and Isaac and
Jacob: make me not a public example unto the children of Israel, but
restore me unto the poor, for thou knowest, Lord, that in thy name did
I perform my cures, and did receive my hire of thee.
3 And lo, an angel of the Lord appeared, saying unto her: Salome,
Salome, the Lord hath hearkened to thee: bring thine hand near unto the
young child and take him up, and there shall be unto thee salvation and
4 And Salome came near and took him up, saying: I will do him worship,
for a great king is born unto Israel. And behold immediately Salome was
healed: and she went forth of the cave justified. And Io, a voice
saying: Salome, Salome, tell none of the marvels which thou hast seen,
until the child enter into Jerusalem.
1 And behold, Joseph made him ready to go forth into Judaea. And there
came a great tumult in Bethlehem of Judaea; for there came wise men,
saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his
star in the east and arc come to worship him.
2 And when Herod heard it he was troubled and sent officers unto the
wise men. And he sent for the high priests and examined them, saying:
How is it written concerning the Christ, where he is born? They say
unto him: In Bethlehem of Judaea: for so it is written. And he let them
go. And he examined the wise men, saying unto them: What sign saw ye
concerning the king that is born? And the wise men said: We saw a very
great star shining among those stars and dimming them so that the stars
appeared not: and thereby knew we that a king was born unto Israel, and
we came to worship him. And Herod said: Go and seek for him, and if ye
find him, tell me, that I also may come and worship him.
3 And the wise men went forth. And lo, the star which they saw in the
east went before them until they entered into the cave: and it stood
over the head of the cave. And the wise men saw the young child with
Mary, his mother: and they brought out of their scrip gifts, gold-and
frankincense and myrrh.
4 And being warned by the angel that they should not enter into Judaea,
they went into their own country by another way.
1 But when Herod perceived that he was mocked by the wise men, he was
wroth, and sent murderers, saying unto them: Slay the children from two
years old and under.
2 And when Mary heard that the children were being slain, she was
afraid, and took the young child and wrapped in swaddling clothes and
laid him in an ox-manger.
3 But Elizabeth when she heard that they sought for John, took him and
went up into the hill-country and looked about her where she should
hide him: and there was no hiding-place. And Elizabeth groaned and said
with a loud voice: O mountain of God, receive thou a mother with a
child. For Elizabeth was not able to go up. And immediately the
mountain clave asunder and took her in. And there was a light shining
alway for them: for an angel of the Lord was with them, keeping watch
I Now Herod sought for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying:
Where hast thou hidden thy son? And he answered and said unto them: I
am a minister of God and attend continually upon the temple of the
Lord: I know not where my son is.
2 And the officers departed and told Herod all these things. And Herod
was wroth and said: His son is to be king over Israel. And he sent unto
him again, saying: Say the truth: where is thy son? for thou knowest
that thy blood is under my hand. And the officers departed and told him
all these things.
3 And Zacharias said: I am a martyr of God if thou sheddest my blood:
for my spirit the Lord shah receive, because thou sheddest innocent
blood in the fore-court of the temple of the Lord. And about the
dawning of the day Zacharias was slain. And the children of Israel knew
not that he was slain.
1 But the priests entered in at the hour of the salutation, and the
blessing of Zacharias met them not according to the manner. And the
priests stood waiting for Zacharias, to salute him with the prayer, and
to glorify the Most High.
2 But as he delayed to come, they were all afraid: and one of them took
courage and entered in: and he saw beside the altar congealed blood:
and a voice saying: Zacharias hath been slain, and his blood shall not
be wiped out until his avenger come. And when he heard that word he was
afraid, and went forth and told the priests.
3 And they took courage and went in and saw that which was done: and
the panels of the temple did wail: and they rent their clothes from the
top to the bottom. And his body they found not, but his blood they
found turned into stone. And they feared, and went forth and told all
the people that Zacharias was slain. And all tile tribes of the people
heard it, and they mourned for him and lamented him three days and
three nights. And after the three days the priests took counsel whom
they should set in his stead: and the lot came up upon Symeon. Now he
it was which was warned by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death
until he should see the Christ in the flesh.
1 Now I, James, which wrote this history in Jerusalem, when there arose
a tumult when Herod died, withdrew myself into the wilderness until the
tumult ceased in Jerusalem. Glorifying the Lord God which gave me the
gift, and the wisdom to write this history.
2 And grace shall be with those that fear our Lord Jesus Christ: to
whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.