Holy Anna, Judah's glory!

The noble stock of Jesse hath brought forth a pleasant stem, from which doth spring a flower of wondrous fragrance. - Magnificat Antiphon for Vespers of the Feast

Holy Anna! Judah’s glory!
through the Church from east to west
ev’ry tongue proclaims thy praises,
Holy Mary’s Mother Blest.
Under thy protecting banner,
here assembled in thy name,
Mary’s mother, gracious Anna,
grace and help of thee we claim!

Saintly kings and priestly forbears
blended in thy sacred line;
thou in virtue those before thee
didst excel by grace divine.

Linked in bonds of purest wedlock,
thine it was for us to bear,
by the favour of high heaven,
our salvation’s morning star.

From thy stem in beauty blossomed
ancient Jesse’s mystic rod;
earth from thee received the Mother
of th’almighty Son of God.

All the human race benighted
in the depth of darkness lay;
when in Anne it saw the dawning
of the long-expected day.

Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
be to Thee, O Virgin’s Son!
with the Father and the Spirit,
while eternal ages run.

Vespers this evening begins the Feast of Ss Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Mother of God. My Anglican parish church when I was growing up was dedicated in honour of St Anne and so I have had an affinity to her for some years. I even adopted her name as my screen name on a discussion forum for a few weeks until I realised that people had begun to assume that I was female. It surprises me that so many do not know who she is.

Only as an adult, however, did I come across the Protoevangelium of James, perhaps because the Presentation of Our Lady on the 21st of November doesn't feature in the kalendar of the Anglican Province of the West Indies. I think that this gives us a splendid picture of the faith of Our Lady's parents in constantly praying to God for a child and in so willingly offering her to his service. They are certainly models that I could do with emulating much more, and I hope that their prayers will aid me to do this.

Holy Joachim, pray for us!
Holy Anna, pray for us!
Holy Mary, pray for us!
May the divine help remain with us always, and may the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Mother Anne, be joyful;
sing, O mother lowly,
since thou art the parent
of God's Mother lowly.

Praise thy wondrous daughter;
Joachim, too, raises
to the Virgin Mary
his paternal praises.

For in her our planet
first hath benediction
which in hapless Eva
suffered malediction.

Therefore take the praises
joyous hearts are paying;
and from all defilement
cleanse us by thy praying.

Father, Son eternal,
Holy Ghost supernal,
with one praise we bless Thee,
Three-in-One confess Thee. Amen.

Gaude, mater Anna - The Office Hymn from 1st Vespers

The morning star succeeds to night,
the dawn soon follows, growing white
to herald in the surise bright
that floods the waking world with light.

Christ is the sun of righteousness,
the dawn, the Mother full of grace;
bright Anne precedes her, like the star,
to drive the shades of law afar.

Lo, Anne; the very fruitful root,
the tree of healing, whence a shoot
to richest blossoming did spring,
and brought us Christ, to Whom we sing:

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
all glory as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Succedit nocti Lucifer - The Office Hymn from Lauds

Let all the Saints in concert sing,

the mother of that Maid to laud
by whose unstainèd childbearing
salvation came to men from God.

She sought her faithful progeny
from God the Father, Lord of light;
and merited most worthily
the pride of virgins, Mary bright.

To Joachim, esteemed the peer
of any in his goodliness,
Anne brought forth Mary, mother dear
of Jesus, King of righteousness.

Let Jesse's noble stock efface
from mother Eve ancestral traits:
Anne bears her child, the child of grace,
the fairest blossom of the Saints!

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Omnis sanctorum concio - The Office Hymn from 2nd Vespers

6 responses:

Jacob Hicks said...

My first thought was "That's a very nice icon," but my second was "Hmm, if you had S. Anna's mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother...it'd look like one of those Russian dolls!"

Hope all's well; enjoy the feast.

Michael said...


I hadn't thought of that.

Thank you for ruining a truly lovely icon for me. :-P

Thank you. I hope to.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

The joy of the Feast be yours, Michael !

Asking the prayers of the holy ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna.....

Ian said...

He he Richard.

A blessed Feast Day to you Michael; God bless.

And have a wonderful time in London: I look forward to hearing all about it.

Kathleen said...

Greetings in CHRIST!
Thank you for exhibiting the St. Anne Icon with such a beautiful set of prayers!
GOD bless!
Iconographer Kathleen Anderson

Olga said...

The image featured in this post is known as "Maternity", as an analogue to the "Paternity" image which features God the Father as a bearded old man, in whose lap is Christ Emmanuel, who, in turn, is holding a white dove surrounded by a mandorla. Unfortunately, both images are not canonical iconography. Sorry!

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