The Ancestors of God

annaPart of the consciousness of the Orthodox faith was forged in the defense of the Divinity of Christ. The Church was clear in its understanding that Christ is truly God – truly God and truly man. The great councils of the early centuries of the Church stated this understanding time and again, refining each statement as various challenges were offered to the fundamentals of the faith.

It is in the context of these battles that some of the titles most familiar to Orthodox Christians came to be used. The Blessed Virgin Mary was solemnly declared to be the ” Theotokos” (“Birth-giver of God”) at the Third Ecumenical Council. It is the same understanding that gives rise to the title “Mother of God.” The intent of this title is to defend the unity of the Person of Christ. He who was born of the Virgin is none other than the Second Person of the Trinity, the only-begotten Son of God. For those who would argue that Mary is only the Mother of His humanity – the Church answers that we cannot make such a division because Christ, though God and Man (two natures), is but one Person. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity is also the subject of the birth from Mary. Her title, “Theotokos,” is meant to be paradoxical. For those Christians whose ears cannot bear the sound of this paradox – meditation on the meaning of Christ, fully God and fully man, is warranted.

The same paradox is extended to St. James, known in Scripture as the “brother of our Lord.” Orthodox and Catholic teaching hold that James is a step-brother to Christ, a child of Joseph by an earlier marriage (Joseph was a widower). But the Orthodox icons of Christ push the paradox to its limit and entitled the saint, “James the Brother of God.” It is true, though some theological understanding is required to reach it.

Again, this same paradox is rehearsed in the title of the parents of the Theotokos, Joachim and Anna, “the ancestors of Christ,” and sometimes, “the ancestors of God.” My own preference is for the latter if only for the cognitive dissonance created in the mind by the extreme statement of the paradox. Of course, nothing created exists prior to God and cannot in that literal sense be an “ancestor of God.” And yet, because God has entered history and taken to himself our human nature, we can indeed refer to his ancestors (according to the flesh) as the “ancestors of God.”

There is a feast day, one of the Sundays before the feast of Christmas, designated on the Orthodox Calendar as the feast of the Ancestors of Christ on which day all of Christ’s holy ancestors are remembered (some of them, of course, are rather scandalous).

The parish I serve is named for St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. July 25th is her feast day, and the patronal feast of my parish (we will observe it tomorrow, the 26th, by permission of our hierarch). I have become accustomed to hearing the hymn to St. Anne at almost every service in the Church (unless otherwise appointed).

O godly ever-blessed Anne,
You bore the pure Mother of God, whoconceived Him who is our life.
You have now passed to heaven,
And are rejoicing in glory.
Asking forgiveness for those who faithfully honor you.

She has indeed been a faithful intercessor for our parish and a constant reminder that Christ partakes of our flesh. We cannot rightly honor Him by divorcing Him from history, nor by separating Him from the people of whom He was born. The history of the descendants of Abraham is disturbing at points but is, at the same time, the history of the ancestors of Christ. All of human history is a disturbing mess (as is the present). But it is into the midst of this disturbing mess that God has entered, even condescending to unite it to Himself. It is the great mystery of Christ’s incarnation – a reminder on July 25 of Christmas.

On the feast – glory to God!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





37 responses to “The Ancestors of God”

  1. Meskerem Avatar

    During matins service everyday, right at the closing and before we depart the priest commemorates the Saint of the day and always commemorates “Ancestors of God” Joachim and Anna.

    What a reminder!!!!

  2. David Bryan Avatar

    Happy Feastday, Father!

  3. Mrs. Mutton Avatar
    Mrs. Mutton

    With the Feast, Father! Two observations, one serious, one light-hearted: As a former Catholic and current Orthodox, I must note that I never once heard, in 13 years of Catholic education, that St. James was any kind of step-brother to the Lord, or that Joseph was a widower. The position on the brothers (and sisters) of the Lord was always that at the time of Christ, cousins were often referred to as “brothers” (which conveniently ignores that Elizabeth and the Theotokos are referred to as *cousins,* not sisters!). Modern Catholicism (of the “traditional guitar Mass” — !!!) is even comfortable with the notion of the Theotokos’ having borne other children, though I doubt that that is an official Vatican teaching. But nowadays, almost anything seems to be acceptable in the RCC, as long as one is faithful to the Pope.

    And the other observation — I can’t help feeling sorry for St. Anne. No woman wants to be thought of as old, and to be known as *God’s grandmother* reminds me of a teacher my husband once had who, when asked his age, would always reply, “Two years younger than God” — a statement I have appropriated with great effect, when studying Russian at the state college at my age. But *God’s grandmother*?!?!?!

  4. Jesse Avatar

    You haven’t written much about Mary, the Mother of God, at least since I’ve been reading your blog, and I’ve wondered about that. Kallistos Ware says (in The Orthodox Church) something about it being the Church’s “secret,” instead of being an outwardly professed doctrine. I may be remembering that wrong, but I was wondering if, since this blog is read by so many on-Orthodox, that might have something to do with it.

    Also, why does she also have the title Ever-Virgin? This is still the thing that I can’t get over with the cult of Mary. There is no indication in the scriptures that this is the case (Matthew states that Joseph had no relations with her UNTIL after Jesus was born, and of course Christ is said to have siblings, with no explanation of other parentage). I guess I have wondered if it is some misguided attempt to keep her from sin, following from a gnostic (?) idea that sex is somehow sinful. If that is the case, the “Ever-Virgin” title seems to do no one any good. Also, while I’m at it, what is the Orthodox doctrine concerning Mary sinning, and why? What does all this have to do with the person of Jesus? If the answer is that I should just wait until I am Orthodox to wonder about all this, that is fine, I’ll wait 🙂

  5. fatherstephen Avatar

    Mrs. Mutton,

    I recall now that Rome follows the tradition of cousins. The East generally understands the “brothers and sisters” of Christ to be children of Joseph. The Protevangelium of James, I believe, treats Joseph as a widower – but I do not trust my memory this early in the morning.

  6. Mrs. Mutton Avatar
    Mrs. Mutton

    I do — I’ve always been a morning person — and it *is* the Protoevangelion that refers to Joseph as a widower. In light of St. Elizabeth’s specifically being referred to as a cousin, I’m a lot more comfortable with the Eastern tradition than with the Roman “cousin” theory.

  7. Ian Avatar

    Thank you Father.

    A blessed Feast Day to you and your parish, with love and prayers from the Antipodes.

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    You are correct about my reticence to write at length about Mary – it is a very important doctrine of the Church, seamless with the doctrine of Christ, but I would loathe to argue about it.

    As to the perpetual virginity – both Luther and Calvin believed it – worth noting at the first. It was pretty much a universal tradition within the early Church. A simple matter of piety – if Joseph believed her to be who he obviously believed her to be – even Jewish piety would not have approached her for the purpose of intimate relations. She is the animate ark of God. Her womb is the “gate through which God has entered and through which no man may enter” (from Ezekiel). The Church does not and did not teach that sex is sinful (inherently) but neither does it hold to the secularized sexuality of the modern world. Matthew’s “until” in Greek also carries the meaning “he did not know her before the child was born” which is the intent of the verse – meaning that there was no chance that Christ was simply premature, etc. She was a virgin.

    I would spend time meditating on what it would mean that she is truly of one flesh with God and the greatness of the mystery. That Joseph should approach her in that way would be offensive to both Jewish and Christian sensibilities if those sensibilities have been well-formed.

    There’s more to say, and I’ll post a longer reply later today.

  9. Greg Avatar

    Jesse, Hope I am not intruding, but I had many of the same questions when I was first looking at Orthodoxy. In fact, I think I was initially shocked by this subject more than anything. Personally, I found the short book by St. John of Shanghai on the Orthodox veneration of Mary very helpful when I was looking at this topic. Another long article I found useful was by Fr. Michael Polsky:

    There are of course other very helpful things to look at: the Gospel of James, the writings in defense of the title Theotokos by St. Cyril of Alexandria, etc. In the end, I realized I really hadn’t known much at all about how the Church viewed the Virgin – in the light of Christ – from the start, my own views have changed quite dramatically after some time and contemplation.

  10. Paul Johnston Avatar
    Paul Johnston

    Thank you for being such a clear communicator of the Orthodox faith. It helps my Evangelical ears to hear the true heart of Orthodox and push away the caricatures and stereotypes.

  11. Mrs. Mutton Avatar
    Mrs. Mutton

    Darlene — the good news is that the Orthodox Church does not accept the Roman notion of the Immaculate Conception, either. The understanding of original sin is very different in Orthodoxy than it is in the West, so for the Mother of God to have to remain free of the “stain of sin” from the moment of her conception in the womb is not even on the radar scope.

    Greg and Jesse — even though I grew up Catholic, the excessive Marian devotion really got under my skin, so it was many years *after my reception into Orthodoxy* that I finally come to a point where I could honor her without feeling as if I was betraying her Son. My point is that you don’t have to be on board with the whole package at once — there are a lot of people who come into the Church feeling that overall, it is the place to be, but “I just wish I could get my head around [fill in the blank].” The priest who chrismated me said, “If you don’t get it this year, you’ll get it next year. Or the year after that.” In the case of Mary, it took me 17 years to “get it,” and I’ve been Orthodox for 18 years.

  12. fatherstephen Avatar


    I will do my best the make some recommendations – but will need a little time. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is not received by the Orthodox Church (in the way it is promulgated in the Roman Catholic Church). It would not make much sense within Orthodoxy, given a very different understanding on the topic of Original Sin (which in some ways is the foundation of the Roman Catholic dogma).

    The Orthodox veneration and understanding of Mary differs in many respects from Roman Catholic understanding. I am not an expert in Roman Catholic Marian teaching so that I am hesitant to say too much. However, the Theotokos is inherently a Christological doctrine within Orthodoxy – everything the Church says about her has a basis in our understanding of Christ. The Western Church has tended to compartmentalize things in such a way that my feel for its treatment of Mary is almost as something separate (though I know it would be incorrect to state it this way – it’s just a “feel” I have in trying to describe differences that I perceive).

    There is, within Western Christianity, a sort of “isolated God” concept (for lack of a better term). It is an image of God without angels and saints – as if God has ever been made known to us in such a manner. There does not seem to me to be a image given us of God in Scripture that is not also quite “crowded,” with angels, archangels, seraphim and cherubim, saints, etc. He is, after all, the Lord of Hosts. I sometimes think people would have less trouble with the Orthodox doctrines concerning many of these things if their understanding of God was more Scriptural and less ideological. For despite the insistence on the importance of Scripture, many speak about God in ways the Scriptures never do. People speak as if saints and angels are a distraction – though in the Scriptures they seem to be ever present when God is present.

    I would be bold enough to say that God has not made Himself known to us without such accompaniment. He is the God of our Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even in making Himself known to Abraham – it was crowded in the other direction – in which Abraham knows God as the God who promises to make of Abraham the father of a great nation.

    Much of this is taught in the full account of personhood – what it means to exist as Person and what the Church means when it says that God is three Persons. But that is perhaps matter for a separate post.

  13. fatherstephen Avatar


    Thank you. Those are very kind words.

  14. Darlene Avatar


    I have asked the same questions as Jesse. It is natural coming from Protestantism to do so. While Mary was never honored in any of the churches I attended, much doubt was cast on her remaining a virgin and the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. I still cannot accept the latter.

    The teaching on the intercession of the saints is one that is comforting to me. However, I cannot defend it very well from biblical perspective.

    Can you recommend a book/s or writings of early fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Ignatius, St. Clement, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Athanasius that points to and clarifies their beliefs on the Theotokos, the intercession of the saints, and Apostolic Tradition and succession? I have read various writings of each of these men, but I would like to be able to have a well-known reputable source from which to defend the faith.

    I still struggle with all of this. Last night we had Christian friends over for dinner. They minister the gospel in song at various Protestant churches. I could not even touch upon Orthodoxy for I knew they would not understand. So I kep what I have come to know of the Orthodox faith hidden. Still, we fellowshipped extensively about Christ’s salvation and His love and mercy toward us. We prayed with and for each other. God is working for His good pleasure among the non-Orthodox and in many ways they are faithful to what He has revealed to them, even though it is not the fullness of the Christian faith.


  15. Bill Avatar

    Thank you again Father for an illustration of our faith that I will ponder and — I am sure — refer back to in my own ministry as an Episcopal priest. May God continue to bless you and the Orthodox Church as you bless us Christians outside the Church.

  16. Sea of SIn Avatar

    One must come to the realization that everyone uses a tradition, an interpretive “lens” through which everything is seen. It makes absolutely no difference whether one realizes this or even denies the existence of such. One only fools himself if thinks he reads sola scriptura – scripture alone. This is pure fiction, self delusion.

    The question then becomes, “which tradition am I using?”

  17. Karen Avatar

    Dear Father, bless! Thank you for the words to the hymn in honor of St. Anne (also my Patroness). I have been wanting to have it to keep with her icon. Blessed Feast Day to your parish!

    Good discussion regarding the Theotokos. Of course, I had to come to terms with the Orthodox doctrines of Mary. For the Matthew reference using “UNTIL,” I suggest looking up that word in a concordance and seeing how it is used elsewhere. One that I remember is in Psalms where David writes, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand UNTIL I put all your enemies under your feet.’” Will Christ cease to sit at the right hand of the Father once His enemies are subjected to Him? Obviously, this word translated “until” does not Scripturally imply only until and not thereafter also in the sense it always has in English. That was a bit of a revelation to me also along with the reality that you will find no account of anything other than the betrothal of Joseph and Mary in Scripture. There is no account of a wedding and, in fact, in Mary’s condition, for righteous Jews, going ahead with a wedding under those dubious circumstances would have been scandalous and would have removed any notion of proper piety on the part of Joseph and Mary. As it was, I’m sure their unique situation placed the question of their righteous character in an ambivalent status in their Jewish culture. Or so I am given to understand by what I remember reading about this issue. Something also taught by the Priest who received me into Orthodoxy was that all things attributed by the Church to Mary can also be attributed to all of us in the Church. We are all created to become God-bearers, not in our womb, but also as with Mary in our hearts by grace through faith. It is the other shoe dropping of the meaning of the gospel–that which the Son, Who alone is holy by nature, makes holy is holy indeed by grace. Mary is a picture of all those being saved in our fulfilled human nature.

  18. Dean Arnold Avatar
    Dean Arnold

    About a year ago I suddenly noticed at the end of the liturgy the mention of Joachim and Anna as “the ancestors of God.”

    The priest didn’t say ancestors of “Christ” or “Jesus” but ancestors of God. As you say, this provides some dissonance.

    For me, it brought me to a new level of appreciation for the incarnation, that we truly do have a marriage of the human and the divine, and at the marriage feast, like any good marriage, the parents and grandparents, etc., sit at places of honor.

    The angels get pushed out a little bit to make room for all the human beings to take the spots in the inner circle. No wonder it’s all such a fuss.

  19. Irenaeus Avatar

    Mrs Mutton said-
    I must note that I never once heard, in 13 years of Catholic education, that St. James was any kind of step-brother to the Lord, or that Joseph was a widower.
    How interesting that I was taught exactly that… and it didnt take 13 years.

    Mrs Mutton said-
    Modern Catholicism (of the “traditional guitar Mass” — !!!) is even comfortable with the notion of the Theotokos’ having borne other children
    First off, Catholics have never held that the BVM had borne other children. Any claim that such is true or tolerated by Catholics is patently false. You may be a bitter former Catholic, but please stick to describing your new beliefs in the future.

  20. Irenaeus Avatar

    Jesse said-
    Matthew states that Joseph had no relations with her UNTIL after Jesus was born, and of course Christ is said to have siblings, with no explanation of other parentage

    Matt. 1:25 – this verse says Joseph knew her “not until (“heos”, in Greek)” she bore a son. Some argue that this proves Joseph had relations with Mary after she bore a son. This is an erroneous reading of the text because “not until” does not mean “did not…until after.” “Heos” references the past, never the future. Instead, “not until” she bore a son means “not up to the point that” she bore a son. This confirms that Mary was a virgin when she bore Jesus.

  21. Irenaeus Avatar

    The patriarch Photius in his first homily on the Annunciation says that Mary was sanctified ek Brephous. This is not an easy term to translate; the primary meaning of Brephos is that of a child in the embryonic state. Ek means origin or starting point. The phrase seems to me, to mean not that Mary was sanctified in the embryonic state, that is to say, during her existence in her mother’s womb, but that she was sanctified from the moment of her existence as an embryo, from the very first moment of her formation – therefore – from the moment of her conception.

    A contemporary and opponent of Photius, the monk Theognostes, wrote in a homily for the feast of the Dormition, that Mary was conceived by “a sanctifying action”, ex arches – from the beginning. It seems to me that this ex arches exactly corresponds to the “in primo instanti“ of Roman theology.

    St Euthymes, patriarch of Constantinople (+917), in the course of a homily on the conception of St Anne (that is to say, on Mary’s conception by Anne and Joachim) said that it was on this very day (touto semerou) that the Father fashioned a tabernacle (Mary) for his Son, and that this tabernacle was “fully sanctified” (kathagiazei). There again we find the idea of Mary’s sanctification in primo instanti conceptionis.

    St. Gregory Palamas, archbishop of Thessalonica and doctor of the hesychasm (+1360) in his 65 published Mariological homilies, developed an entirely original theory about her sanctification. On the one hand, Palamas does not use the formula “immaculate conception” because he believes that Mary was sanctified long before the “primus instans conceptionis“, and on the other, he states quite as categorically as any Roman theologian that Mary was never at any moment sullied by the stain of original sin. Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know, he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors, one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root, like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”.

    The Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (+1425) also pronounced a homily on the Dormition. In it, he affirms in precise terms Mary’s sanctification in primo instanti. He says that Mary was full of grace “from the moment of her conception” and that as soon as she began to exist … there was no time when Jesus was not united to her”. We must note that Manuel was no mere amateur in theology. He had written at great length on the procession of the Holy Spirit and had taken part in doctrinal debates during his journeys in the West. One can, therefore, consider him as a qualified representative of the Byzantine theology of his time.

    George Scholarios (+1456), the last Patriarch of the Byzantine Empire, has also left us a homily on the Dormition and an explicit affirmation of the Immaculate Conception. He says that Mary was “all pure from the first moment of her existence” (gegne theion euthus).

  22. fatherstephen Avatar


    There is freedom in the matter of “immaculate conception,” and a variety of thought. That the Mother of God lived in full integrity before God, i.e. without sin, is generally hymned in Orthodox liturgical texts. However, immaculate conception, as taught in Rome has generally not been received in Orthodoxy (mind you it was promulgated as dogma in Rome only in the 1800’s). One of Orthodoxy’s objections was the defining of a doctrine that needed no definition. Rome sometimes does not stay silent where Orthodoxy would prefer to do so – and sometimes this seems to happen out of an excess of zeal – particularly zeal for the ability of the Pope to define such doctrines – even without an ecumenical council – merely ex officio. This is troublesome.

    The veneration of Mary, “in an Orthodox manner” (as our hymns use the phrase) seems a better way. Of course to say she is without sin is not at all the same thing as saying she is without “inherited guilt.” This Western idea is what seems most foreign in Orthodoxy – and is the “original sin” issue.

    St. Gregory Palamas’ treatment is most foreign to the idea of an “inherited guilt,” for his approach would make no sense at all of such a thing. Unless I misunderstand the RC doctrine (which is of course quite possible) it teaches that she was conceived free from inherited guilt (as well as born with integrity of soul, etc.). It’s just that there is no formal teaching of inherited guilt in Orthodoxy.

  23. Alice C. Linsley Avatar
    Alice C. Linsley

    Christ our God was born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. He takes his flesh from Mary, who was cousin to Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zechariah. Among the ruler-priests from whom both Joseph and Mary descend, bloodline was figured through the mother, not the father. Joseph, in taking Mary to be his wife, was continuing a marriage practice that is traced back to Genesis 4 and 5. The pattern involves intermarriage between 2 lines of ruler-priests and interestingly, the Bible provides no evidence that the pattern continued after Jesus’ Incarnation. It appears to end with HIS appearing.

    The pattern involves marriage of cousins and half-siblings of priestly lines and continues unbroken from Genesis to the birth of our Lord. You can read more about this here:

  24. Christopher Milton Avatar
    Christopher Milton

    This is awesome! As a Roman Catholic, I find this whole conversation fascinating! Thank you, Father Stephen for prodding the grey matter.

    I must say, though, that the Pope does not define dogma to flex muscle, but because something needs to be defined. Indeed, it was only after 3 years of consultation with his fellow bishops that Pope Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception.

  25. fatherstephen Avatar

    It is not a necessity that seems obvious.

  26. Tim Avatar

    Happy Feast day! We have been celebrating the Feast of St. Anna as well out here in California. Through the intercessions of Sts Joachim and Anna, Many years to you, Father!

    St. Anna’s GOC

  27. Novaseeker Avatar

    A blessed feast day, Father.


    On the IC “dogma”, it simply is not a necessary belief from the perspective of Orthodox, or Byzantine, theology. I think many Orthodox would object to it being a “dogma” therefore, both on the basis of substance (because “dogma” implies universality) and process (it was not proclaimed by an ecumenical council, but simply by the Pope of Rome). Leaving that aside, as Fr. Stephen has quite rightly pointed out, it is a permitted “theolougemon” for Orthodox Christians.

    As for the questions regarding the veneration of Mary and the Saints, her perpetual virginity and so on, this flows from the holy tradition of the Church. I realize full well that references to holy tradition can be a stumbling block for Protestant Christians in particular, based on the Protestant tradition of sola scriptura. However, the Orthodox Church (very similarly to the Roman Church) professes its faith based on both scripture and holy tradition, following Paul’s teaching in 2 Thess. 15, where the Church in Thessalonica is reminded to stand firm and hold to the “traditions we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter”. The Protestant insistence on hard scriptural authority for every doctrine of the Church to be “valid” is therefore itself unscriptural. Instead, Paul reminds us that there are oral teachings as well as written scripture, and that these teachings comprise tradition, and need to be held to as well.

    The veneration of Mary and the saints is precisely one of these aspects of holy tradition, as is her status as ever-virgin. There are a lot of references in the fathers to her perpetual virginity — not in the very earliest fathers, as far as I am aware, where more basic issues were under discussion, but among 4th and 5th century fathers, references to the Theotokos as being ever-virgin are commonplace. St. Ambrose even cited Ezekiel 44:2 as being a prophecy confirming the ever-virginity of Mary. Various councils (including the 5th and 6th ECs) also repeatedly refer to the Theotokos as ever-virgin. So from the Orthodox perspective, there is ample evidence that the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos is a firm part of holy tradition concerning Mary.

  28. Irenaeus Avatar

    Fr. Stephen said-
    Rome sometimes does not stay silent where Orthodoxy would prefer to do so – and sometimes this seems to happen out of an excess of zeal

    I think I would agree with the first half, but the latter I think was not out of excess. I would say that the zeal was provoked out of necessity for the West. The Reformation left the Catholic Church in a position where it had to clearly define more of its beliefs because they were under constant attack in a way the East was relatively safe from. Protestantism attacked the Faith in a much more sophisticated way than was faced when contending with Muslims.

  29. Sea of Sin Avatar

    Irenaeus, we have a slightly different take on that. 😀

  30. Irenaeus Avatar

    Sea of Sin,

    Thats fine, but it is interesting that the epistle reading for Catholics on this feast day of St. Joachim and St Anne this past sunday was Eph 4:1-6.

    Both East and West make claims, but at the end of the day, if our true churches cannot love each other, what example is being set for the people. This tear in the seamless robe of Christ shames our Lord. The difference are only as unsurmountable as the egoes that promulgate them. May the Spirit bring reconciliation and communion to Christ’s kingdom on earth.

  31. Sea of Sin Avatar

    The Orthodox Church has always maintained that the differences are theological and substantial; that there is no “tear in the robe of Christ”, neither is the Lord shamed by His Body.

    Amen to reconciliation and communion!

  32. GVM Avatar

    Father, Bless!

    This is such a helpful post, thank you!!


  33. Fr Nicholas Avatar

    I have always liked the litteral “grandparents” of God (Greek- Propatores) Joachim and Anna, which sometimes gives people a start. But knowing how important my grandmother was to me, if the Lord is truly one of us, His Yiayia/Zito/ Mamaw/ Oma/Grannie must have been important to him. And it stands to reason if Mary is the Mother of God, then Anna is the Grandmother of God. It is certainly a conversation generator..

  34. Jesse Avatar

    Irenaeus, good point about Matthew – there is no “after” in there. But that mistake was unintentional on my part.

    Thanks everyone for the helpful responses.

  35. Fr. Alex Dung Avatar
    Fr. Alex Dung

    I must confess that this column is far develpompting each day. May God grant you more inspiration. I would like to comment on the use of certain terms to describe relational relationship in the scriptures. terms such as brothers, sisters, ect. they do not carry the exect meaning which today’s English expresses. Secondly, the term ‘UNTILL’ as used in Matthew does not in anyway point to the fact that St. Joseph had other children with the BVM. this point is made clear in the Psalm which says “the Lord said to my Lord sit on my right UNTILL I put your enemies under your feet”. Does that mean the Lord Jesus will go back to the left hand of God after the episode. Please let us allow competent authorities to handle matters of scriptural exegesis; as the English language and many others cannot adequately translate the totally of the use of words in Hebrew and Greek as used in the scriptures. There are many words in scriptures without English equivalent, we can only paraphrase. this we must accept.

  36. Damaris Avatar

    Excuse me, but what is “develpompting”? I want to understand.

  37. fatherstephen Avatar


    I think it’s a typo. 🙂 At least I hope so.

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