Troparion to Saint Anna, Tone 4
O godly, ever-blessed Anna,
You bore the pure Mother of God who conceived Him Who is our life.
You have now passed to heaven
And are rejoicing in glory,
Asking forgiveness for those who faithfully honour you.
Kontakion to Saint Anna, Tone 2
We celebrate the memory of the ancestors of Christ
And faithfully ask their help;
That all may be delivered from every affliction who cry:
“Be with us, O God, for it pleased You to glorify them.”
The Mother of the Theotokos
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Anne in Scarborough, Ontario is an Orthodox Christian temple dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of the Theotokos.
According to Orthodox tradition, St. Anne (Hanna/Anna) was the daughter of Nathan (Matthan) the priest — by Jewish law, a Levite — as were Moses and Aaron. Nathan had three daughters: Mary, Zoia, and Anna. Anna’s sisters were married in Bethlehem. Her sister Mary bore Salome; Zoia bore Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Forerunner. Anna was married in Nazareth to Joachim, of the tribe of Judah — a descendant of King David.
Sts. Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years, and were childless. They lived devoutly and quietly, using a third of their income for themselves; giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Joachim had done this since he became a man, and God multiplied his flocks, so the couple was well provided for. They longed to fulfill God’s first commandment; to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” — but remained childless into old age. When they were in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, the High Priest Issachar upbraided Joachim: “You are not worthy to offer sacrifice with those childless hands.” Those with children jostled Joachim as one unworthy. In despair, he consulted the geneological records of the tribes of Israel and discovered that every righteous man in the nation had been blessed with children, but for him. This caused the aged saint great grief, and he and his wife left the Temple with heavy hearts. They resolved to give themselves ever more fervently to prayer — that God might work in them the wonder He had worked in Abraham and Sarah: the gift of a child to comfort their old age.
St. Joachim took his flocks and went to a high mountain, refusing to return home in shame. St. Anna remained behind, praying in her garden. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to them both, with tidings of the birth of “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.” Each in turn promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate; St. Anna he told to wait there to receive her husband. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.
St. Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Feast of the Conception by St. Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated by the Church on December 9; the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated nine months later, on September 8.
In keeping with their vows, Sts. Joachim and Anna took their daughter Mary to the Temple at the age of three to be dedicated to the service of the Lord — where she was presented to the High Priest, Zacharias. The parents then, after offering up her sacrifice (according to the custom of the time), left the Virgin with other maidens in the apartments of the temple to be brought up therein. The Church commemorates the Presentation of the Theotokos on November 21.
Troparion to Saint Anna, Tone 4
Today the bonds of barenness are broken,
God has heard the prayers of Joachim and Anna.
He has promised them beyond all their hopes,
To bear the Maiden of God
By whom the Uncircumscribed One was born as mortal man,
Who commanded an angel to cry to Her:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!
Kontakion to Saint Anna, Tone 4
Today the universe rejoices,
For Anna has conceived the Theotokos through God’s dispensation,
For she has brought forth the One who is to bear the Ineffable Word!