The celebration of Mary’s presentation in Jerusalem dates back to the sixth century, marked by the construction of a dedicated church. This event held greater significance within the Eastern Church and later emerged in the Western Church in the 11th century. Although its observance fluctuated over time, by the 16th century, it was firmly established as a feast for the entire Church.

The story of Mary’s presentation in the temple is found only in apocryphal texts, notably the Protoevangelium of James. According to this narrative, Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim, dedicated her to God at the temple when she was three years old, fulfilling a vow made during Anna’s childlessness.

While lacking historical verification, the theological significance of Mary’s presentation is profound. It complements the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s birth, highlighting the continuity of her sanctity from her early life onwards. This event underscores the belief in Mary’s lifelong holiness, a central theme in Christian theology.

Photo credit: PD via Wikimedia Commons

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