The Righteous Joseph, although of the royal lineage of King David, was a simple carpenter from Nazareth. Tradition teaches that he had been married to Salome and had had children by her, including James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, as well as several daughters. After he became a widower, he was chosen by Divine Providence to become the protector of the Virgin Mary when she left the temple at about the age of twelve. Thus the references in the Gospels of the brothers and sisters of Jesus were actually Jesus’ step-brothers and step-sisters. St. Joseph was also the older brother of the Cleophas who was married to another Mary.
St. Joseph is called the Betrothed because although betrothed to the Virgin, which is the first part of the marriage contract in Israel, he never married her as a witness that Jesus was not his child. He was 80 years old when he began to protect the Virgin. It is not known exactly when St. Joseph died, but he was still alive when Jesus was 12. He was not present at the time of Christ’s ministry, so he was probably between 95 and 110. This icon was a gift by the iconographer Philotheos Giffey to St. Isaac of Syria Skete.