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Anna also known as Saint Anne is known by tradition as mother of The Virgin Mary.
According to the Gospel of James, Anna and her husband Joachim, after years of childlessness, were visited by an angel who told them that they would conceive a child. Anna promised to dedicate the child to God's service. Joachim and Anna brought Mary to live in the Temple when Mary was about three years old. St. Anne is a patron saint of Quebec and Brittany, and patroness of women in labor and miners.
The story is similar to the story of Samuel whose mother had also been childless and was named Hannah. The story was not accepted in the Western church until the 13th century although in the Eastern church dedications to Saint Anna date to the 6th century. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Anna is ascribed the title Forbear of God.
In Western iconography, Anna may recognised by her depiction in red robe and green mantle, often holding a book. Images may also be found depicting Anna holding a small Mary who in turn holds an infant Christ - more elaborate carved statuettes open up to reveal Mary inside Anna with Christ in turn inside her. Such trinitarian representations mirror similar depictions of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and were sometimes produced as pairs.
In the fourth and fifteenth centuries, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anna by virgin birth. This was denied as an error by the Vatican in 1677.
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