St. Anna was born of the priestly tribe of Levi, and lived a devout and very charitable life as St. Joachim’s wife for 50 years, but remained childless. At that time, if a couple did not bear children it was considered a disgrace and a lack of blessing from God. Then God heard their supplications and sent His Archangel Gabriel to give them the assurance that she would conceive and bear “A daughter most blessed….through whom will come the salvation of the world.” From them was born the Most Holy Virgin Mary.
They raised the child until she was three when they brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Theotokos would dedicate herself to God alone. When St. Anna was later widowed, she went also to live in the Temple. She lived long enough to see and hold her daughter’s Divine Son in her arms, and then left this world at the age of 79. Often those who have a hard time conceiving children pray to St. Anna for help, and she often replies with God’s blessing upon them. This contemporary icon is from Patmos. The Theotokos presents her mother with a blossoming flower to represent her future child Jesus Christ.