Saint Anne (Hannah)

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Saint Anne (Hannah)'s Geni Profile

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Hannah / Anna

Birthplace: Israel
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Phanuel and Mary
Wife of Saint Joachim; Cleopas ben Jacob and Solomas
Mother of Blessed Virgin Mary; Escha; Saint Mary of Clopas and Mary Zebedee Salome
Sister of Sobe or Esmeria and Anna "the Prophetess"

Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Saint Anne (Hannah)

Do not reconnect her to Joiadah ben Hezekiah.

SS. Joachim and Anna (or Hannah), said to have been the parents of St. Mary, are not named in canonical writings. All information about them comes from apocryphal literature, the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary (part of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew) and the Protoevangelium of James.

The Protoevangelium of James and Gospel of the Nativity of Mary both say St. Anne and her husband Joachim, after years of childlessness, were visited by an angel who told them that they would conceive a child. Anne promised to dedicate the child to God's service. That child was St. Mary, the mother of Jesus.

"The Protoevangelium gives the following account: In Nazareth there lived a rich and pious couple, Joachim and Hannah. They were childless. When on a feast day Joachim presented himself to offer sacrifice in the temple, he was repulsed by a certain Ruben, under the pretext that men without offspring were unworthy to be admitted. Whereupon Joachim, bowed down with grief, did not return home, but went into the mountains to make his plaint to God in solitude. Also Hannah, having learned the reason of the prolonged absence of her husband, cried to the Lord to take away from her the curse of sterility, promising to dedicate her child to the service of God. Their prayers were heard; an angel came to Hannah and said: "Hannah, the Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world". The angel made the same promise to Joachim, who returned to his wife. Hannah gave birth to a daughter whom she called Miriam (Mary). Since this story is apparently a reproduction of the biblical account of the conception of Samuel, whose mother was also called Hannah, even the name of the mother of Mary seems to be doubtful." Catholic Encyclopedia.

Ancestry of Anna

The earliest surviving source for Anna's ancestry dates from the 3rd century. Clement of Alexandra (c. 150-c. 215) and Origen Adamantius (c. 185-254) identified the prophetess Anna, as the mother of St. Mary. Luke 2.36-8 says the prophetess Anna was daughter of Phanuel, a member of the tribe of Asher, and a widow of great age, about 88, at the time of Jesus' birth. According to St. Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-c. 236), Anna was the youngest daughter of High Priest Phanuel and his wife Mary.

In the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary (composed probably between 600 and 625), St. Anne is said to have been daughter of Achar, of the tribe of Judah and family of David. This version was included in The Golden Legend, compiled about 1260 by Jacobus de Voragine.

Nevertheless, the prevailing tradition in Western Europe was that St. Anne was the daughter of Stollanus and Emerentia. This version came from a sermon published at Paris In 1579 by Johann von Eck. He said Anne was born after Stollanus and Emerentia had been childless for 20 years. Emerentia, St. Anne, and St. Mary, the maternal ancestors of Jesus, formed a sort of female trinity in medieval iconogrphy.

The Orthodox tradition is different. The Greek Menaea (25 July) says the parents of St. Anne were Mathan and Maria, and relate that Salome and Elizabeth the mother of St. John the Baptist, were daughters of two sisters of St. Anne.

Some modern genealogists speculate the father of St. Anne as Jesus ben Fabus, High Priest (30-23 BCE), but without citing any source. See, for example, FabPedigree.

Anna's Marriages

Ancient belief, attested to by a sermon of St. John of Damascus (c. 676-749, was that Anne married once. However, according to a medieval tradition, Anne was also grandmother to five of the twelve apostles: John the Evangelist, James the Greater, James the Less, Simon and Jude. She is said to have married three times, first to Joachim, then to Cleopas, and finally to a man named Solomas, and that each marriage produced one daughter: Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary of Cleopas; and Mary Salomae, respectively. This legend, called the trinubium, has been traced to Haymo, Bishop of Halberstadt (d. 853) in his Historiae Sacrae Epitome.

Anna solet dici tres concepisse Marias, Quas genuere viri Joachim, Cleophas, Salomeque. Has duxere viri Joseph, Alpheus, Zebedeus. Prima parit Christum, Jacobum secunda minorem, Et Joseph justum peperit cum Simone Judam, Tertia majorem Jacobum volucremque Johannem. Jacobus de Voragine, 2.131.

(Anna is usually said to have conceived three Marys, Whom her husbands Joachim, Cleophas, and Salome begot. These [Marys] the men Joseph, Alpheus, and Zebedee took in marriage. The first bore Christ; the second bore James the Less, Joseph the Just, with Simon [and] Jude; The third, James the Greater and the winged John.)

However, the tradition is not reliable: "The renowned Father John of Eck of Ingolstadt, in a sermon on St. Anne (published at Paris in 1579), pretends to know even the names of the parents St. Anne. He calls them Stollanus and Emerentia. He says that St. Anne was born after Stollanus and Emerentia had been childless for twenty years; that St. Joachim died soon after the presentation of Mary in the temple; that St. Anne then married Cleophas, by whom she became the mother of Mary Cleophae (the wife of Alphaeus and mother of the Apostles James the Lesser, Simon and Judas, and of Joseph the Just); after the death of Cleophas she is said to have married Salomas, to whom she bore Maria Salomae (the wife of Zebedaeus and mother of the Apostles John and James the Greater). The same spurious legend is found in the writings of Gerson (Opp. III, 59) and of many others. There arose in the sixteenth century an animated controversy over the marriages of St. Anne, in which Baronius and Bellarmine defended her monogamy." Catholic Encyclopedia.


  • "St. Anne" In Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)

St Anne in Britany