Daily Meditations

Dormition of the Righteous Anna, the Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos

Commemorated on July 25

Saint Anna was the daughter of the priest Matthan and his wife Mary. She was of the tribe of Levi and the lineage of Aaron. According to Tradition, she died peacefully in Jerusalem at age 79, before the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos.

During the reign of Saint Justinian, the Emperor (527-565), a church was built in her honor at Deutera. 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 Sourota. 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.

Saint Anna is also commemorated on September 9.

~Orthodox Church in America (OCA), https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2021/07/25/102086-dormition-of-the-righteous-anna-the-mother-of-the-most-holy-theo.


The Dormition of Saint Anna, Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos

By John Sanidopoulos

According to tradition, Anna, the ancestor of God, lived for sixty-nine years, and her spouse Joachim, for eighty; according to one account, Saint Joachim died two years before Saint Anna. The Theotokos had been orphaned of both her parents already when she was eleven years of age, when she was living in the Temple (see Sept. 8 and Nov. 21). Saint Anna is invoked for conceiving children, and for help in difficult childbirth.

According to Procopius, during the reign of Justinian the Emperor (527-565), a church was built to honor Saint Anna in Constantinople. Emperor Justinian II (685-695; 705-711) restored her church, since St. Anna had appeared to his pregnant wife. It was at this time that her body and omophorion (veil) were transferred to Constantinople. The canon of the Greek Office of St. Anna was composed by St. Theophanes (d. 817), but older parts of the Office are ascribed to Anatolius of Byzantium (d. 458). Her Dormition is celebrated in the East on the 25th day of July, which may be also the day of the dedication of her first church at Constantinople or the anniversary of the arrival of her relics in Constantinople. The relics of St. Anna were brought from the Holy Land to Constantinople in 710 and were still kept there in the Church of Hagia Sophia in 1333. Her primary feast day in the Orthodox Church is on September 9th.

The oldest and most revered Skete on Mount Athos is dedicated to “Yiayia” (grandmother), as the monks at the Skete of St. Anna affectionately refer to her. Inside the main church of the Skete is treasured the left foot of St. Anna. The left foot of St. Anna was brought to the Skete of St. Anna by Symeon the Righteous on 26 October 1666, according to a codex of the Skete. The relic is incorrupt and works many miracles, especially helping childless mothers with pregnancy issues. Also on Mount Athos, at the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou, is treasured the entire right leg of Saint Anna. The Holy Monastery of Stavronikita treasures her hand. The Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch also have a portion of her relics, as well as Kykkos Monastery on the island of Cyprus.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O Godly-minded Anna, thou didst give birth unto God’s pure Mother who conceived Him Who is our Life. Wherefore, thou hast now passed with joy to thy heavenly rest, wherein is the abode of them that rejoice in glory; and thou askest forgiveness of sins for them that honour thee with love, O ever-blessed one.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

We celebrate now the mem’ry of Christ’s ancestors, while asking their help with faith, that we may all be saved from all manner of tribulation as we fervently cry aloud: Be thou with us, O Lord our God, Whose pleasure it was to glorify them both.

~Orthodox Metropolitanate (Ecumenical Patriarchate) of Hong Kong and South East Asia, https://www.omhksea.org/archives/2733


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