September 9, 2021

The Blessing of the Panagia by the Priests When She Was a One Year Old

Kaisariani Monastery is located on the north side of Mount Hymettus, near Athens. There we find a fresco depicting a scene from the sixth chapter of the Protoevangelium of James, which describes the blessing of the Panagia when she was a one year old by the Jewish priests, who were invited by Joachim and Anna to their home for a feast. Below is the description of the scene from the Protoevangelium:

And the child grew strong day by day; and when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to try whether she could stand, and she walked seven steps and came into her bosom; and she snatched her up, saying: "As the Lord my God lives, you shall not walk on this earth until I bring you into the temple of the Lord."

And she made a sanctuary in her bed-chamber, and allowed nothing common or unclean to pass through her. And she called for the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they carried her here and there.

And when she was a year old, Joachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel. And Joachim brought the child to the priests; and they blessed her, saying: "O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations." And all the people said: "So be it, so be it, amen."

And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: "O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be forever."

And her mother snatched her up, and took her into the sanctuary of her bed-chamber, and gave her the breast. And Anna made a song to the Lord God, saying: "I will sing a song to the Lord my God, for He has looked upon me, and has taken away the reproach of mine enemies; and the Lord has given the fruit of His righteousness, singular in its kind, and richly endowed before Him. Who will tell the sons of Rubim that Anna gives suck? Hear, hear, you twelve tribes of Israel, that Anna gives suck."

And she laid her to rest in the bed-chamber of her sanctuary, and went out and ministered unto them. And when the supper was ended, they went down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.