Feast Day: Sunday after the Nativity (or December 26th if there is no Sunday between December 25th and January 1st) & Sunday of the Holy Forefathers
The Life of Saint Joseph: He lived in Egypt with the Virgin Mary and the Divine Child, working as a carpenter…
Troparion: Proclaim the Wonder, O Joseph, to David, the Ancestor of God: You saw a Virgin Great with Child, you gave Glory with the Shepherds, you Worshipped with the Magi, you received the news from the Angel. Pray to Christ God to save our Souls!
Kontakion: Today Godly David is filled with joy; Joseph and James offer praise. The Glorious crown of their kinship with Christ fills them with great joy. They sing praises to the One ineffably Born on Earth, and they cry out: “O Compassionate One, save those who honour You!”
Matthew 1: 18
His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph.
When Our Most Holy Mother of God came of age to leave the Temple where she lived her childhood, normal custom would be for her to marry. However, the Priests knew her Holiness and her vow to God to remain a virgin, so they arranged for eligible widowers to gather at the Temple, for God to reveal who would be her guardian. The Priests collected the staffs of these men and Prayed to God, and the staff of Saint Joseph began to bud. Saint Joseph followed the Will of God and was Betrothed to Our Most Holy Mother of God and took her in his home to protect her and ultimately her Holy Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
When Saint Joseph was Betrothed to Our Most Holy Mother of God, he was around 80 years old and had been a widower for many years, living a chaste and righteous life. Saint Joseph was earlier married to Salome and had children together, they are Saint Iakovos the Brother of the Lord (October 23rd), Saint Salome the Myrrh-Bearer (August 3rd), Saint Justus the Apostle of the 70 (October 30th), Saint Jude Apostle of the 12 (June 19th), Esther and Martha. Saint Joseph was also the older brother of Saint Cleopas Apostle of the 70 (October 30th).
Matthew 1: 20-21
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Righteous Joseph was confused in his heart when he heard of the pregnancy of Our Most Holy Mother of God. Being her betrothed and guardian, he assumed that she was with a man. However, an Angel came to Saint Joseph in a dream and revealed her pregnancy was a Miraculous Conception, and Our Most Holy Mother of God was chosen by God to bring the Saviour into the world. Saint Joseph understood this and remained her guardian for the rest of his life. They journeyed to Bethlehem because they needed to enrol for taxation. Saint Joseph also took with them his son from his first marriage, Saint Iakovos the Brother of the Lord.
On their journey to Bethlehem, Our Most Holy Mother of God rested on this rock, now known as the Seat of the Virgin Mary.
Luke 2: 7
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Saint Joseph experienced many temptations since he became the guardian of the Mother of God and Jesus Christ. Even at the time of Christ’s Birth Saint Joseph was being tempted about His Divinity and the Purity of Our Most Holy Mother of God. This is depicted in many of the Nativity Icons, where Saint Joseph is seen sitting outside the cave being tormented by a storm of contradictory thoughts. However Saint Joseph’s love for God and trust in Him gave him the strength to fight against these thoughts and remain close to God.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Luke 2: 22
They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
When Christ was 40 days old, Saint Joseph and Our Most Holy Mother of God took Him to the Temple to offer Him to God. Tradition was to bring a young lamb as an offering, however because they were poor they offered two turtle doves.
Matthew 2: 13
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt.
While travelling to Egypt they passed through an area that was infested with robbers. Two robbers named Dismas and Gestas came across to Our Most Holy Mother of God to see what she was holding so closely to her. When Dismas saw the beauty of Baby Christ, he remarked “If God were to take human flesh, He would not be more beautiful than this Child!” Dismas then gave money and his belt to his fellow robber, beseeching him let them pass by in peace. Our Most Holy Mother of God said to Dismas with gratitude “My Child will reward thee richly for having spared Him this day. The Lord God will receive thee to His right hand and grant thee pardon of thy sins.” Thirty three years later, at the Crucifixion of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, it was these two thieves who were crucified on either side of Christ. And that day Dismas the thief became Saint Dismas the first person to enter Paradise with Christ.
Continuing along their journey, Saint Joseph, Saint Iakovos, Our Most Holy Mother of God, and Baby Jesus camped under the shade of a tree for a few days. Here Christ caused water to flow, providing for them a source of drink and also a place they could bathe and wash their clothes.
So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
As He was growing up, Jesus Christ learnt the trade of carpentry from Saint Joseph. Below is a photo of the ruins of Saint Joseph’s workshop and home.