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Presentation of Mary

The original story of the feast day is found in the Protoevangelium of James, dated sometime prior to 200 AD and it tells of when the Blessed Virgin Mary was presented at the temple by her parents. Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne brought her to the Temple at the age of three and consecrated her to God. Before her birth, Anne had received a message that she would soon bear a child and so the presentation was thanksgiving to God for Mary. This presentation draws parallels to that of the Prophet Samuel and his mother Hannah who was offered to God at Shiloh.

The feast can be first found in the Eastern church when in 543 Emperor Justinian I had the Basilica of Saint Mary the New dedicated near Jerusalem. In the Menologion of Basil II (Byzantine Emperor) the feast is written in the liturgical calendar as Εἴσοδος τῆς Παναγίας Θεοτόκου or The Entry of the All-Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Though the Bascilica was destroyed by Persians in 614, the feast continued and was celebrated throughout monasteries in Southern Italy by the 800s. Pope Gregory XI officially introduced the feast into the Papal Chapel in Avignon in the year 1372 and it was included in the Roman Missal in 1472. Pope Pius V briefly suppressed the feast in 1568 but it was reintroduced to the Roman Calendar by Pope Sixtus V in 1585. Finally, Pope Clement VIII made it a greater double in 1597 and it continues today as a memorial in the Roman Calendar of 1969.

There are several religious orders related to this event - the Presentation Sisters (or The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) was formed in Cork Ireland in 1775, the congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary was founded in Thueyts France in 1796, and the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation was formed in Broons France in 1828. Saint Peter's Bascilica contains the Cappaella della Presentazione (Presentation Chapel) with an Altar dedicated to Saint Pius X.

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