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Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple

parents especially mary steps

The apocryphal Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew and Protevangelium of James describe how the Virgin Mary’s parents (Anne and *Joachim) brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem when she was three years old to dedicate her to *God’s service. Following these accounts, and *Josephus’s descriptions of the fifteen steps of the Temple entrance, the story was elaborated again in the * Golden Legend and illustrated in western art especially of the late Gothic period. The image is also found in Byzantine manuscripts and mosaics from the eleventh century which show the infant Mary (sometimes accompanied by her parents) walking in a procession with other torch-bearing virgins. In western examples, the infant Mary may be shown starting to climb the Temple steps toward the high priest, watched or assisted by her parents in the presence of numerous onlookers. Additional subjects from the period of Mary’s service in the Temple, found especially in Byzantine manuscripts and mosaics, include her being fed by an *angel and receiving purple wool for weaving the veil of the Temple.
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