Presentation of Mary
by americancatholic.org | Source: americancatholic.org
Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built
there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does
appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar,
in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the
temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the
Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she
was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still
Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological
purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of
Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth
continued through her early childhood and beyond.
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