“The Story of Joachim and Anna: The Parents of Mary”

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Joachim and Anna are central figures in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James, providing context for the miraculous birth of Mary, the mother of Yeshua. Their story is one of faith, persistence, and divine intervention, setting the stage for the arrival of Gabriel and the announcement to Mary. This post explores the lives of Joachim and Anna and the events leading up to Gabriel’s visit to Mary.

Joachim and Anna’s Longing for a Child

Joachim and Anna were a devout Jewish couple living in Jerusalem. Despite their faithfulness, they were childless, which was seen as a source of great sorrow and social stigma at the time . Joachim, a respected and wealthy man, was deeply grieved by his lack of offspring. He and Anna prayed earnestly for a child, demonstrating their faith and trust in God’s timing.

Joachim’s Retreat and Divine Message

In response to the public humiliation of being childless, Joachim retreated to the wilderness to fast and pray. During this time, he received a divine message from an angel, assuring him that his prayers had been heard and that Anna would soon conceive a child . This angelic message marked a turning point for Joachim and gave him hope that his family’s situation would soon change.

Anna’s Vision and the Birth of Mary

At the same time, Anna also received a divine message from an angel, informing her that she would bear a child who would be dedicated to God . This miraculous announcement brought great joy to Anna, and she made a vow to dedicate her child to the service of God. Shortly thereafter, Anna conceived and gave birth to Mary, fulfilling the angel’s promise.

Mary’s Dedication to the Temple

Following through on her vow, Anna took Mary to the temple at the age of three to be dedicated to God. Mary remained in the temple, living a life of purity and religious devotion. This act of dedication not only demonstrated Anna’s faithfulness but also set the stage for Mary’s unique role in the divine plan .

The Timeline to Gabriel’s Visit

Mary’s time in the temple was a period of spiritual growth and preparation. The apocryphal text suggests that angels frequently interacted with her, providing food and guidance . These interactions helped shape her spiritual understanding and attuned her to the presence of the divine.

When Gabriel visited Mary to announce that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit, her familiarity with angels likely contributed to her calm and composed response. The announcement marked the beginning of her role in the unfolding Christian story, as she accepted the angel’s message with humility and faith (Luke 1:26-38).


The story of Joachim and Anna, leading to the birth and dedication of Mary, sets the foundation for the arrival of Gabriel and the divine announcement to Mary. Their journey from sorrow and longing to divine fulfillment underscores the themes of faith, persistence, and God’s timing. By exploring the lives of Joachim and Anna, we gain a deeper appreciation for the events leading up to Gabriel’s visit and the unique role that Mary was destined to play.

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