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Did Jesus know his grandparents?

Joachim and Anne

Adam Jan Figel | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/24/21

Little is definitively known about Sts. Joachim and Anne, and whether they survived to see their grandson, Jesus Christ.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus had grandparents. One of the reasons for that is because they don’t appear in the Bible and their lives are rather obscure.

What we do know is found in a pious text from the year 145, called The Protoevangelium of James. It names Jesus’ grandparents as “Joachim and Anne,” and the Church celebrates their lives on July 26 each year.

Did Joachim and Anne live to see Jesus?

In the The Protoevangelium of James, Jesus’ grandparents do not have any age assigned to them, nor are they recorded as having died.

Anne is described as being infertile, mourning the inability to have children.

And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long do you humiliate your soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for you to mourn. 

Since she is mourning her barrenness, it is possible this went on for years. The story obviously draws upon other biblical stories of infertility, implying that they may have been older when they conceived Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Some historians claim that the average lifespan in ancient Israel would have been 40, meaning that Joachim and Anne may have died before they saw Jesus.

Artists have typically stayed away from depictions of Jesus with his grandparents, and only feature a youthful Mary.

Whatever may have happened, Jesus would have enjoyed the presence of his grandparents if they were still alive and welcomed their loving care.

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BibleJesus Christ
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