On the twenty-fifth of this month [July], we commemorate the Dormition of Saint Anna, the Mother of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos.
You came to an end O Mother of the Virgin Mother Lady,
Having conceived the mother of salvation.
On the twenty-fifth Anna who helps those in childbirth died.
She who was the grandmother according to the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, was from the tribe of Levi, and the daughter of Mathan the priest and his wife Maria. Mathan served as a priest during the reign of Cleopatra, before the reign of Herod the son of Antipas. He had three daughters: Maria, Sobe and Anna. Maria was married in Bethlehem and gave birth to Salome the midwife. Sobe also was married in Bethlehem and gave birth to Elizabeth. Anna was married in Galilee and gave birth to Mary the Theotokos. Thus Salome, Elizabeth and Mary the Theotokos were the daughters of three sisters, and first cousins between them.* Saint Anna therefore, having given birth to Mary the Theotokos, who established the salvation of the entire world, and after she had suckled her, dedicated her to the Temple of God, as a clean and pure gift. After passing her life in fasting and prayer and giving alms to the poor, she departed to the Lord in peace.** Her Synaxis and Feast is celebrated in the so-called Deuteron.***
* This is why our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His human nature, and Saint John the Forerunner are second cousins.
** According to tradition, Saint Anna was 79 years old at her repose, which was prior to the Annunciation to the Theotokos by the Archangel Gabriel.
*** During the reign of Emperor Justinian (527-565), a church was built in her honor at Deuteron in Constantinople. Emperor Justinian II (685-695; 705-711) restored her church, since Saint Anna had appeared to his pregnant wife. It was at this time that her body and omophorion (veil) were transferred to Constantinople.
Portions of Saint Anna’s holy relics may be found on Mount Athos: Stavronikita Monastery (part of her left hand), Saint Anna’s Skete (part of her incorrupt left foot), Koutloumousiou Monastery (part of her incorrupt right foot). Fragments of her relics may also be found in her Monastery at Lygaria, Lamia, and in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian at Souroti. Part of the Saint’s incorrupt flesh is in the collection of saints’ relics of the International Catholic Crusaders. The Church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome has one of the Saint’s wrists.
|Icon depicts Christ's maternal lineage: Maria, Anna, Mary the Theotokos and our Lord Jesus Christ|
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
You carried within your womb her who was pregnant with Life, the Mother of God, O godly-minded Anna, and thus rejoicing you were today translated unto heaven, where they live who now rejoice. And you entreat forgiveness of offenses for the faithful who honor you with longing, O ever-blessed one.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Today we observe the memory of Christ’s forebears, and also we pray that we might receive their aid, so that all of us may be freed from tribulations, as we cry aloud: Be with us, O Lord our God, who glorified them as You were pleased to do.
Let us all prophetically come together to worthily extol the all-holy passing of Christ’s grandmother. For today she passed from this temporal life and joyfully made her way into heaven, where she greatly rejoices. As the true mother of the true Theotokos, she cries out with faith: “My soul magnifies the Lord, for I gave birth to His Mother on earth.” May He be with us, He who glorified them as He was pleased to do.
Exaposteilarion in the Second Tone
Of righteous Anna, called by God, let us duly sing praises. For she conceived beyond all hope and bore the Virgin Mary, the most-holy Theotokos; and in so doing she was shone forth to be akin to Christ our Redeemer; and He has today as God taken her to join Him on high in heaven. She intercedes on our behalf and for the sake of world peace.