Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As promised to God, St. Joachim and St. Anne offered Mary, their only child, to the Temple of Jerusalem and returned to Nazareth, their native village. Though the Bible does not describe these incidents, the Holy Quran, the Holy Book of Islam gives a detailed account of her birth, presentation and early life. The Holy Quran shows her as an example and a sign for all people. The Holy Quran states that God has purified her and chosen her from amongst the women of all worlds (nations)
{Holy Quran 3: 42}. She is the only woman who is mentioned in the Holy Quran by her own first name and has a whole chapter (19th Surah) named after her, entitled 'Mariam' and another chapter (3rd Surah) named after her father, as 'Al Imran'. Sacred traditions, liturgical texts and non-canonical books also describe the early years of St. Mary.

St. Mary grew up in the Temple under the supervision of the priests and pious women, particularly the priest, St. Zechariah, who later became the father of St. John, the Baptist. St. Zechariah was married to St. Elizabeth, the elderly maternal cousin of St. Mary. One of her teachers in the Temple was Anna, the old prophetess, who greeted her when she returned to the Temple after several years to present child Jesus {Luke 2: 36-38}. Thus St. Mary was offered as a sacred sacrifice to God. She mastered the Holy Scriptures and grew up in purity, humility and sanctity in the Temple. She made a solemn vow of virginity before God. Just as the moon reflects the brilliance of the sun, she reflected the glory of the Sun of Justice, Jesus. The church remembers the presentation of St. Mary on 21st November every year. It is traditionally believed that God called her parents to eternal rest while she was still staying in the Temple.

By: N.G.Philip, Bethel, Nalamchira, Thiruvananthapuram-695015, Kerala, India & Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is story No. 68 in this site. Please click ‘older posts’ at bottom of page to read previous stories in this site.

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