Saint Joseph

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Saint Joseph
Guido Reni - St Joseph with the Infant Jesus - WGA19304.jpg
Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c.1635
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Legal father of Jesus
Prince and Patron of the Universal Church
Venerated inAll Christian denominations which venerate saints
Feast 19 March – Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary (Western Christianity)

The third Wednesday after Easter Sunday-The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church (Roman Catholic Church)

Contents

1 May – Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker (Catholic Church)

The Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord (Eastern Christianity)
Attributes Carpenter's square or tools, the infant Jesus, staff with lily blossoms, two turtle doves, rod of spikenard.
Patronage Catholic Church, unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, employment, explorer, pilgrims, traveller, carpenters, realtors, against doubt and hesitation, and of a happy death, Belgium, From the State of Ceará and the city of Macapá in Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Korea, Indonesia, Zapotlan in Mexico, Vietnam, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, and many others.

Joseph (Hebrew : יוֹסֵף, romanized: Yosef; Greek : Ἰωσήφ, romanized: Ioséph) is a figure in the canonical gospels who was married to Mary, Jesus' mother, and was Jesus' legal father. [1] In the Apocrypha, Joseph was the father of James, Joses, Jude, Simon, and at least two daughters. According to Epiphanius and the apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter , these children were from a marriage which predated the one with Mary, a belief that is accepted by some select Christian denominations. Perspectives on Joseph as a historical figure are distinguished from a theological reading of the Gospel texts. [2]

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Romanization of Hebrew transcription of Hebrew into the Latin alphabet

Hebrew uses the Hebrew alphabet with optional vowel diacritics. The romanization of Hebrew is the use of the Latin alphabet to transliterate Hebrew words.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Joseph is venerated as Saint Joseph in the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, Anglicanism and Lutheranism. [3] [4] In both Catholic and Protestant traditions, Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of workers and is associated with various feast days. Pope Pius IX declared him to be both the patron and the protector of the Catholic Church, in addition to his patronages of the sick and of a happy death, due to the belief that he died in the presence of Jesus and Mary. In popular piety, Joseph is regarded as a model for fathers and has also become patron of various dioceses and places.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Several venerated images of Saint Joseph have been granted a canonical coronation by a pope. In popular religious iconography he is associated with lilies or a spikenard. With the present-day growth of Mariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centers for studying it have been formed. [5] [6]

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Iconography Branch of art history

Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct from artistic style. The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών ("image") and γράφειν.

Spikenard

Spikenard, also called nard, nardin, and muskroot, is a class of aromatic amber-colored essential oil derived from Nardostachys jatamansi, a flowering plant of the valerian family which grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China, and India. The oil has been used over centuries as a perfume, a traditional medicine, or in religious ceremonies across a wide territory from India to Europe.

In the New Testament

Dream of St Joseph, c. 1625-1630, by Gerard Seghers Gerard Seghers 001.jpg
Dream of St Joseph, c. 1625-1630, by Gerard Seghers

The Pauline epistles make no reference to Jesus' father; nor does the Gospel of Mark. [7] The first appearance of Joseph is in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each contains a genealogy of Jesus showing ancestry from King David, but through different sons; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke traces another line back to Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently, all the names between David and Joseph are different. Some scholars such as Harry A. Ironside reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph's major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary's minor line. [8]

Pauline epistles New Testament books

The Pauline epistles, also called Epistles of Paul or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen books of the New Testament, composed of letters which are largely attributed to Paul the Apostle, although authorship of some is in dispute. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity. As part of the canon of the New Testament, they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics. The Epistle to the Hebrews, although it does not bear his name, was traditionally considered Pauline for a thousand years, but from the 16th century onwards opinion steadily moved against Pauline authorship and few scholars now ascribe it to Paul, mostly because it does not read like any of his other epistles in style and content. Most scholars agree that Paul really wrote seven of the Pauline epistles, but that four of the epistles in Paul's name are pseudepigraphic ; scholars are divided on the authenticity of two of the epistles.

Gospel of Mark Books of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Mark is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret, concealing it in parables so that even most of the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.

Gospel of Matthew Books of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110. The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, and likely used a hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, although the existence of Q has been questioned by some scholars. He also used material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".

The epistles of Paul are generally regarded as the oldest extant Christian writings. These mention Jesus' mother (without naming her), but do not refer to his father. The Book of Mark, believed to be the first gospel to be written and with a date about two decades after Paul, also does not mention Jesus' father. [7] Joseph first appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, both dating from around 80–90 AD. The issue of reconciling the two accounts has been the subject of debate.

Genealogy of Jesus Genealogy of Jesus

The New Testament provides two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus, one in the Gospel of Matthew and another in the Gospel of Luke. Matthew starts with Abraham, while Luke begins with Adam. The lists are identical between Abraham and David, but differ radically from that point. Matthew has twenty-seven generations from David to Joseph, whereas Luke has forty-two, with almost no overlap between the names on the two lists.⁠ Notably, the two accounts also disagree on who Joseph's father was: Matthew says he was Jacob, while Luke says he was Heli.

Like the two differing genealogies, the infancy narratives appear only in Matthew and Luke and take different approaches to reconciling the requirement that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem with the tradition that Jesus in fact came from Nazareth. In Matthew, Joseph obeys the direction of an angel to marry Mary. Following the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, Joseph is told by an angel in a dream to take the family to Egypt to escape the massacre of the children of Bethlehem planned by Herod, the ruler of the Roman province of Judea. Once Herod has died, an angel tells Joseph to return, but to avoid Herod's son he takes his wife and the child to Nazareth in Galilee and settles there. Thus in Matthew, the infant Jesus, like Moses, is in peril from a cruel king, like Moses he has a (fore)father named Joseph who goes down to Egypt, like the Old Testament Joseph this Joseph has a father named Jacob, and both Josephs receive important dreams foretelling their future. [9]

Nazareth Place

Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as "the Arab capital of Israel". In 2017 its population was 76,551. The inhabitants are predominantly Arab citizens of Israel, of whom 69% are Muslim and 30.9% Christian. Nazareth Illit, declared a separate city in June 1974, is built alongside old Nazareth, and had a Jewish population of 40,312 in 2014.

Flight into Egypt New Testament event

The flight into Egypt is a story recounted in the Gospel of Matthew and in New Testament apocrypha. Soon after the visit by the Magi, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to flee to Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus since King Herod would seek the child to kill him. The episode is frequently shown in art, as the final episode of the Nativity of Jesus in art, and was a common component in cycles of the Life of the Virgin as well as the Life of Christ. Within the narrative tradition, iconic representation of the "Rest on the Flight into Egypt" developed after the 14th century.

Massacre of the Innocents narrative from the Gospel of Matthew

In the New Testament, the Massacre of the Innocents is the incident in the nativity narrative of the Gospel of Matthew in which Herod the Great, king of Judea, orders the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem. A majority of Herod biographers, and "[p]robably a majority of biblical scholars", hold the event to be fictional. The Catholic Church has claimed the children murdered in Jesus's stead as the first Christian martyrs, and their feast – Holy Innocents Day – is celebrated on 28 December.

In the Gospel book of Luke, Joseph already lives in Nazareth, and Jesus is born in Bethlehem because Joseph and Mary have to travel there to be counted in a census. Subsequently, Jesus was born there. Luke's account makes no mention of him being visited by angels (Mary and various others instead receive similar apparitions), the Massacre of the Innocents, or of a visit to Egypt.

The last time Joseph appears in person in any Gospel book is in the story of the Passover visit to the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus is 12 years old, found only in Luke. No mention is made of him thereafter. [10] The story emphasizes Jesus' awareness of his coming mission: here Jesus speaks to his parents (both of them) of "my father," meaning God, but they fail to understand.(Luke 2:41–51).

Christian tradition represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son. Joseph is not mentioned as being present at the Wedding at Cana at the beginning of Jesus' mission, nor at the Passion at the end. If he had been present at the Crucifixion, he would under Jewish custom have been expected to take charge of Jesus' body, but this role is instead performed by Joseph of Arimathea. Nor would Jesus have entrusted his mother to the care of John the Apostle if her husband had been alive. [11]

While none of the Gospels mentions Joseph as present at any event during Jesus' adult ministry, the synoptic Gospels share a scene in which the people of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, doubt Jesus' status as a prophet because they know his family. In Mark 6:3, they call Jesus "Mary's son" instead of naming his father. In Matthew, the townspeople call Jesus "the carpenter's son," again without naming his father. (Matthew 13:53–55) In Luke 3:23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli."(Luke 4:16–30) In Luke the tone is positive, whereas in Mark and Matthew it is disparaging. [12] This incident does not appear at all in John, but in a parallel story the disbelieving neighbors refer to "Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know" (John 6:41–51).

Mentions in the Gospels

No.EventMatthewMarkLukeJohn
1Joseph lived in Nazareth Luke 2:4
2Genealogy of Jesus Matthew 1:1–17 Solomon to Jacob Luke 3:23 Nathan to Heli
3Joseph Betrothed to Mary Matthew 1:18
4 Angel visits Joseph (1st dream) Matthew 1:20–21
5Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem Luke 2:1–5
6 Birth of Jesus Matthew 1:25 Luke 2:6–7
7 Temple presentation Luke 2:22–24
8 Angel tells Joseph to flee (2nd dream) Matthew 2:13
9 Flight into Egypt Matthew 2:14–15
10 Angel tells Joseph to return to Nazareth (3rd dream) Matthew 2:19–20
11 Joseph and family settle in Nazareth Matthew 2:21–23 Luke 2:39
12 Finding Jesus in the Temple Luke 2:41–51
13 Holy Family John 6:41–42

Lineage

Joseph appears in Luke as the father of Jesus and in a "variant reading in Matthew". [13] Matthew and Luke both contain a genealogy of Jesus showing his ancestry from David, but through different sons; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke traces another line back to Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently, all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew 1:16 "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary", while according to Luke 3:23 , Joseph is said to be "the son of Heli".

The variances between the genealogies given in Matthew and Luke are explained in a number of ways; one possibility is that Matthew's genealogy traces Jesus' legal descent, according to Jewish law, through Joseph; while Luke's genealogy traces his actual physical descent through Mary, [8] [14]

Professional life

Christ in the House of his Parents, 1850, by John Everett Millais John Everett Millais - Christ in the House of His Parents (`The Carpenter's Shop') - Google Art Project.jpg
Christ in the House of his Parents , 1850, by John Everett Millais

In the Gospels, Joseph's occupation is mentioned only once. The Gospel of Matthew [13:55] asks about Jesus:

Is not this the carpenter's son (ho tou tektōnos huios)?

Joseph's description as a " tekton " (τέκτων) has been traditionally translated into English as "carpenter", but is a rather general word (from the same root that gives us "technical" and "technology") that could cover makers of objects in various materials. [15] The Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone. [16] But the specific association with woodworking is a constant in Early Christian tradition; Justin Martyr (died c. 165) wrote that Jesus made yokes and ploughs, and there are similar early references. [17]

Joseph the Carpenter, by Georges de La Tour, c. 1645 Georges de La Tour. St. Joseph, the Carpenter.JPG
Joseph the Carpenter , by Georges de La Tour, c. 1645

Other scholars have argued that tekton could equally mean a highly skilled craftsman in wood or the more prestigious metal, perhaps running a workshop with several employees, and noted sources recording the shortage of skilled artisans at the time. [18] Geza Vermes has stated that the terms 'carpenter' and 'son of a carpenter' are used in the Jewish Talmud to signify a very learned man, and he suggests that a description of Joseph as 'naggar' (a carpenter) could indicate that he was considered wise and highly literate in the Torah. [19] At the time of Joseph, Nazareth was an obscure village in Galilee, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Holy City of Jerusalem, and is barely mentioned in surviving non-Christian texts and documents. [20] [21] [22] [23] Archaeology over most of the site is made impossible by subsequent building, but from what has been excavated and tombs in the area around the village, it is estimated that the population was at most about 400. [24] It was, however, only about 6 kilometres from the city of Sepphoris, which was destroyed and depopulated by the Romans in 4 BC, and thereafter was expensively rebuilt. Analysis of the landscape and other evidence suggest that in Joseph's lifetime Nazareth was "oriented towards" the nearby city, [25] which had an overwhelmingly Jewish population although with many signs of Hellenization, [26] and historians have speculated that Joseph and later Jesus too might have traveled daily to work on the rebuilding. Specifically the large theatre in the city has been suggested, although this has aroused much controversy over dating and other issues. [27] Other scholars see Joseph and Jesus as the general village craftsmen, working in wood, stone and metal on a wide variety of jobs. [28]

Modern appraisal

The name "Joseph" is found almost exclusively in the genealogies and the infancy narratives. [29] [30] Modern positions on the question of the relationship between Joseph and the Virgin Mary vary. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which names Joseph's first wife as Salome, holds that Joseph was a widower and merely betrothed, but never married, to Mary, [31] and that references to Jesus' "brothers" are to children of Joseph and Salome. The position of the Catholic Church, derived from the writings of Jerome, is that Joseph was the husband of Mary, but that references to Jesus' "brothers" should be understood to mean cousins or step-brothers. Such usage is prevalent throughout history, and occurs elsewhere in the Bible. Abraham's nephew Lot (Genesis 11:26-28) was referred to as his brother (Genesis 14:14), as was Jacob's uncle Laban (Genesis 29:15). Jesus himself frequently used the word "brother" as a generic term for one's fellow man. This custom has continued into modern times, with close friends, colleagues, and fellow churchgoers often called "brothers and sisters." Generally, certain Protestants and other groups opposed to the Roman Catholic teaching read "brothers and sisters" of Jesus as referring specifically to children born of Mary. In both cases, the church doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity means that Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations. The Protestant churches, following the tenet of Virgin Birth but not that of Perpetual Virginity, hold no strong views on the subject. [32]

The term kiddushin , which refers to the first part of a two-part marriage, is frequently translated as "betrothal". Couples who fulfil the requirements of the kiddushin are married, until death or divorce. [33] [34] [35]

Later apocryphal writings

Holy Family with bird, c. 1650, by Bartolome Esteban Murillo Sagrada Familia del pajarito (Murillo).jpg
Holy Family with bird, c. 1650, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

The canonical gospels created a problem: they stated clearly that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, and that Joseph was not his father; yet Joseph's paternity was essential to establish Jesus' Davidic descent. The theological situation was complicated by the gospel references to Jesus' "brothers and sisters" (repeated in Paul, where James is called the "brother of Christ"), and by the fact that Jesus was described unambiguously by John and Matthew as "Joseph's son" and "the carpenter's son." [36] From the 2nd century to the 5th writers tried to explain how Jesus could be simultaneously the "son of God" and the "son of Joseph". [36]

The first to offer a solution was the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James, written about 150 AD. The original gospels never refer to Joseph's age, but the author presents him as an old man chosen by lot (i.e., by God) to watch over the Virgin. Jesus' brothers are presented as Joseph's children by an earlier marriage, and his years and righteousness explain why he has not yet had sex with his wife: "I received her by lot as my wife, and she is not yet my wife, but she has conceived by the Holy Spirit." [37]

The Protoevangelium was extremely popular, but it leaves open the possibility that Joseph might have had relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus ("she is not yet my wife..."). A few centuries later the developing doctrine that Mary was a virgin not only at the time of the conception and birth of Christ, but throughout her life, meant that this possibility had to be excluded.

The apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter , written in the 5th century and framed as a biography of Joseph dictated by Jesus, describes how Joseph, aged 90 (the Protoevangelium had not given Joseph a specific age), a widower with four sons and two daughters, is given charge of the twelve-year-old Mary, who then lives in his household raising his youngest son James the Less (the supposed author of the Protoevangelium) until she is ready to be married at age 14½. Joseph's death at the age of 111, attended by angels and asserting the perpetual virginity of Mary, takes up approximately half the story. [38]

According to the bishop of Salamis, Epiphanius, in his work The Panarion (AD 374–375) "Joseph became the father of James and his three brothers (Joses, Simeon, Judah) and two sisters (a Salome and a Mary [39] or a Salome and an Anna [40] ) with James being the eldest sibling. James and his siblings were not children of Mary but were Joseph's children from a previous marriage. After Joseph's first wife died, many years later when he was eighty, "he took Mary (mother of Jesus)". [41] [42]

Eusebius of Caesarea relates in his Church History (Book III, ch. 11) that "Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph and an uncle of Jesus." [43] Epiphanius adds that Joseph and Cleopas were brothers, sons of "Jacob, surnamed Panther." [44]

Origen quotes the Greek philosopher, Celsus (from his work On the True Doctrine, c. 178 AD), as controversially asserting that Joseph left Mary upon learning of her pregnancy: "...when she was pregnant she was turned out of doors by the carpenter to whom she had been betrothed, as having been guilty of adultery, and that she bore a child to a certain soldier named Panthera." [45] Origen, however, argues that Celsus' claim was simply a concoction used by early non-Christians to explain away the virginal birth story. [46]

The Catholic Encyclopedia citing the texts contained in the apocryphal writings writes that:

When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, "the Lord's brother"). A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Judah a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place. These dreams, as St. Jerome styles them [...] are void of authority; they nevertheless acquired in the course of ages some popularity; in them some ecclesiastical writers sought the answer to the well-known difficulty arising from the mention in the Gospel of "the Lord's brothers"; from them also popular credulity has, contrary to all probability, as well as to the tradition witnessed by old works of art, retained the belief that St. Joseph was an old man at the time of marriage with the Mother of God. [47]

Veneration

Nativity by Martin Schongauer (1475-1480) Martin Schongauer 001.jpg
Nativity by Martin Schongauer (1475–1480)
Holy Family with the Holy Spirit by Murillo, 1675-1682 Bartolome Esteban Perez Murillo 003.jpg
Holy Family with the Holy Spirit by Murillo, 1675–1682

The earliest records of a formal devotional following for Saint Joseph date to the year 800 and references to him as Nutritor Domini (educator/guardian of the Lord) began to appear in the 9th century, and continued growing to the 14th century. [48] [49] [50] Thomas Aquinas discussed the necessity of the presence of Saint Joseph in the plan of the Incarnation for if Mary had not been married, the Jews would have stoned her and that in his youth Jesus needed the care and protection of a human father. [51] [52]

In the 15th century, major steps were taken by Bernardine of Siena, Pierre d'Ailly and Jean Gerson. [48] Gerson wrote Consideration sur Saint Joseph and preached sermons on Saint Joseph at the Council of Constance. [53] In 1889 Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Quamquam pluries in which he urged Catholics to pray to Saint Joseph, as the patron of the Church in view of the challenges facing the Church. [54]

Josephology, the theological study of Saint Joseph, is one of the most recent theological disciplines. [55] In 1989, on the occasion of the centenary of Quamquam pluries Pope John Paul II issued Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer), which presented Saint Joseph's role in the plan of redemption, as part of the "redemption documents" issued by John Paul II such as Redemptoris Mater to which it refers. [56] [57] [58] [59]

Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, Joseph is one of the three members of the Holy Family; since he only appears in the birth narratives of the Gospels, Jesus is depicted as a child when with him. The formal veneration of the Holy Family began in the 17th century by François de Laval.

In 1962, Pope John XXIII inserted the name of Joseph in the Canon of the Mass, immediately after that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 2013, Pope Francis had his name added to the three other Eucharistic Prayers. [60]

Feast days

March 19, Saint Joseph's Day, has been the principal feast day of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity [61] [62] since the 10th century, and is celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and other denominations. [63] In Eastern Orthodoxy, the feast day of Saint Joseph is celebrated on the First Sunday after the Nativity of Christ. In the Roman Catholic church, the Feast of St. Joseph (19 March) is a solemnity (first class if using the Tridentine calendar), and is transferred to another date if impeded (i.e., 19 March falling on Sunday or in Holy Week).

Feast of Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c 1635.jpg
Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c 1635
Observed by Catholic Church
Lutheran Church
CelebrationsCarrying blessed fava beans, wearing red-coloured clothing, assembling home altars dedicated to Saint Joseph, attending a Saint Joseph's Day parade
Observances Church attendance at Mass or Divine Service
Begins19 March
Frequencyannual

Popular customs among Christians of various liturgical traditions observing Saint Joseph's Day are attending Mass or the Divine Service, wearing red-coloured clothing, carrying dried fava beans that have been blessed, and assembling home altars dedicated to Saint Joseph. [64]

In Sicily, where Saint Joseph is regarded by many as their patron saint, and in many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to Saint Joseph (San Giuseppe in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if God answered their prayers through Joseph's intercession, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of Saint Joseph's Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a Saint Joseph's Day custom. In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat a Neapolitan pastry known as a zeppola (created in 1840 by Don Pasquale Pinatauro in Napoli) on Saint Joseph's Day. [65] Maccu di San Giuseppe is a traditional Sicilian dish that consists of various ingredients and maccu that is prepared on this day. [66] Maccu is a foodstuff and soup that dates to ancient times which is prepared with fava beans as a primary ingredient. [66]

Upon a typical Saint Joseph's Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the Trinity. [67]

In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Joseph patron of the Universal Church and instituted another feast, a solemnity with an octave, to be held in his honour on Wednesday in the second week after Easter. The 1870 feast was replaced in the 1955 General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII by the Feast of "Saint Joseph the Worker", to be celebrated on 1 May. This date coincides with the secular International Workers' Day promoted by the labour movement and left-wing parties since the 1890s, and reflects Joseph's status as patron saint of workers. Catholic and other Christian teachings and stories about or relating to Joseph and the Holy Family frequently stress his patience, persistence, courage, and hard work. The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (1 May) is an Optional Memorial, and so is omitted if impeded, unless the day is raised to a higher rank because Saint Joseph is the patron of the church, diocese, place, or institution. (However, the 1 May celebration is 1st class in the Tridentine calendar, so in it Saint Joseph the Worker was celebrated on 2 May in 2008 because 1 May was Ascension Thursday and in 2011 because 1 May was in the Easter octave.)

Patronage

Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870. Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death. [68]

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a number of cities, regions and countries, among them the Americas, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), explorers, pilgrims, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

Places, churches and institutions

Saint Joseph's Oratory, Montreal, the largest church in Canada. Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal - Montreal.jpg
Saint Joseph's Oratory, Montreal, the largest church in Canada.

Many cities, towns, and locations are named after Saint Joseph. According to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Spanish form, San Jose, is the most common place name in the world. Probably the most-recognized San Joses are San José, Costa Rica, and San Jose, California, United States, given their name by Spanish colonists. Joseph is the patron saint of the New World; and of the regions Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol, Sicily; and of several main cities and dioceses.

Many churches, monasteries and other institutions are dedicated to Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph's Oratory is the largest church in Canada, with the largest dome of its kind in the world after that of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Elsewhere in the world churches named after the saint may be known as those of San Giuseppe, e.g. San Giuseppe dei Teatini, San José, e.g. Metropolitan Cathedral of San José or São José, e.g. in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The Sisters of St. Joseph were founded as an order in 1650 and have about 14,013 members worldwide. In 1871, the Josephite Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church were created under the patronage of Joseph, intending to work with the poor. The first Josephites in America re-devoted their part of the Order to ministry within the newly emancipated African American community. The Oblates of St. Joseph were founded in 1878 by St. Joseph Marello. In 1999 their Shrine of Saint Joseph the Guardian of the Redeemer was named after the Apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos . [69]

Prayers and devotions

Altar of St. Joseph, Billafingen, Germany. Billafingen Pfarrkirche Seitenaltar.jpg
Altar of St. Joseph, Billafingen, Germany.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, during the feast day of Saint Joseph the following hymn is chanted:

Verily, Joseph the betrothed, saw clearly in his old age that the foresayings of the Prophets had
been fulfilled openly; for he was given an odd earnest,
receiving inspiration from the angels,
who cried, Glory to God; for he hath bestowed peace on earth.

In the Catholic tradition, just as there are prayers for the Seven Joys of Mary and Seven Sorrows of Mary, so there are also prayers for the seven joys and seven sorrows of Saint Joseph; these include prayers for daily protection, vocation, happy marriage, happy death, and hopeless cases; [70] specific prayers, novenas and devotions include the Prayer to Saint Joseph and the Novena to Saint Joseph. [71] St. Francis de Sales included Saint Joseph along with Virgin Mary as saints to be invoked during prayers in his Introduction to the Devout Life , [72] Saint Teresa of Avila attributed her recovery of health to Saint Joseph and recommended him as an advocate, [73] and Saint Therese of Lisieux stated that for a period of time, every day she prayed to "Saint Joseph, Father and Protector of Virgins..." and felt safe and protected from danger as a result, [74] and Pius X composed a prayer to Saint Joseph which begins: [75]

Glorious St. Joseph, pattern of all who are devoted to toil,
obtain for me the grace to toil, in the spirit of penance,
in order to thereby atone for my many sins...

There is a belief that planting a statue of St. Joseph on a house will help sell the house. [76]

In art

Saint Joseph with the Flowering Rod, by Jusepe de Ribera, early 1630s. Ribera conveys the unexpected wonder of the moment with the lighting from above. Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum - Saint Joseph with the Flowering Rod - Jusepe de Ribera - overall.jpg
Saint Joseph with the Flowering Rod, by Jusepe de Ribera, early 1630s. Ribera conveys the unexpected wonder of the moment with the lighting from above. Brooklyn Museum

Up to about the 17th century Joseph tends to be depicted as a man advanced in years, with grey hair, often balding, occasionally frail, a comparatively marginal figure alongside Mary and Jesus if not entirely in the background, passive other than when leading them on their flight to Egypt. Joseph is shown mostly with a beard, not only in keeping with Jewish custom, but also because – although the Gospel accounts do not give his age – later literature tends to present him as an old man at the time of his wedding to Mary. This depiction arose to allay concerns about both the celibacy of the newly wedded couple,[ citation needed ] the mention of brothers and sisters of Jesus in the canonical Gospels, [77] and Joseph's other children spoken of in apocryphal literature – concerns discussed very frankly by Jean Gerson for example, who nonetheless favoured showing him as a younger man. [78]

In recent centuries – in step with a growing interest in Joseph's role in Gospel exegesis – he himself has become a focal figure in representations of the Holy Family. He is now often portrayed as a younger or even youthful man (perhaps especially in Protestant depictions), whether going about his work as a carpenter, or participating actively in the daily life of Mary and Jesus as an equal and openly affectionate member. [79] Art critic Waldemar Januszczak however emphasises the preponderance of Joseph's representation as an old man and sees this as the need, " to explain away his impotence: indeed to symbolise it. In Guido Reni's Nativity, Mary is about 15, and he is about 70 – for the real love affair – is the one between the Virgin Mary and us. She is young. She is perfect. She is virginal – it is Joseph's task to stand aside and let us desire her, religiously. It takes a particularly old, a particularly grey, a particularly kindly and a particularly feeble man to do that. ...Banished in vast numbers to the backgrounds of all those gloomy stables in all those ersatz Bethlehems, his complex iconographic task is to stand aside and let his wife be worshipped by the rest of us." [80] However Carolyn Wilson challenges the long-held view that pre-Tridentine images were often intended to demean him. [81] According to Charlene Villaseñor Black, "Seventeenth-century Spanish and Mexican artists reconceptualized Joseph as an important figure, ... representing him as the youthful, physically robust, diligent head of the Holy Family." [82] In Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's The Two Trinities, Saint Joseph is given the same prominence as the Virgin.

Full cycles of his life are rare in the Middle Ages, although the scenes from the Life of the Virgin or Life of Christ where he is present are far more often seen. The Mérode Altarpiece of about 1425, where he has a panel to himself, working as a carpenter, is an early example of what remained relatively rare depictions of him pursuing his métier.

Some statues of Joseph depict his staff as topped with flowers, recalling the non-canonical Protoevangelion's account of how Mary's spouse was chosen by collecting the walking sticks of widowers in Palestine, and Joseph's alone bursting into flower, thus identifying him as divinely chosen. The Golden Legend , which derives its account from the much older Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, tells a similar story, although it notes that all marriageable men of the Davidic line and not only widowers were ordered by the High Priest to present their rods at the Temple. Several Eastern Orthodox Nativity icons show Joseph tempted by the Devil (depicted as an old man with furled wings) to break off his betrothal, and how he resists that temptation. There are some paintings with him wearing a Jewish hat.

Chronology of Saint Joseph's life in art

See also

Notes

  1. Boff, Leonardo (2009). Saint Joseph: The Father of Jesus in a Fatherless Society. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 34. ISBN   9781606080078. Legal father, because he cohabits with Mary, Jesus' mother. Through this title Mary is spared from false suppositions and Jesus from spurious origins. However, just as the previous title, this is an extremely exterior characterization.
  2. Sanders, E. P. (1995). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Penguin. p. 333. ISBN   978-0-14-014499-4.
  3. St. Joseph's (Hill) Lutheran Church, Boyertown, Pennsylvania
  4. "St. Joseph Lutheran Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania". lutherans.com. Archived from the original on 2014-01-03.
  5. P. de Letter, "The Theology of Saint Joseph", The Clergy Monthly, March 1955, JSTOR   27656897
  6. For the use of the term, see: James J. Davis, A Thomistic Josephology, 1967, University of Montreal, ASIN   B0007K3PL4
  7. 1 2 "Joseph in the Gospels of Mark and John". osjusa.org.
  8. 1 2 Ironside, Harry A. (2007). Luke. Kregel Academic. p. 73. ISBN   978-0825496653.
  9. Spong, John Shelby. Jesus for the non-religious . HarperCollins. 2007. ISBN   0-06-076207-1.
  10. Perrotta, Louise B. (2000). Saint Joseph: His Life and His Role in the Church Today. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. pp. 21, 110–112. ISBN   978-0-87973-573-9.
  11. Souvay, Charles (1910). "St. Joseph". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  12. Vermes, Geza "The Authentic Gospel of Jesus" (London, Penguin Books, 2004) Chapter 1: Narratives and commands, pp. 1–37, ISBN   978-0141912608.
  13. Vermes, Geza (1981). Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels. Philadelphia: First Fortress. p. 20. ISBN   978-1451408805.
  14. Ryrie, Charles C. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Moody Publishers. ISBN   978-1575674988.
  15. Dickson, 47
  16. Deiss, Lucien (1996). Joseph, Mary, Jesus. Liturgical Press. ISBN   978-0814622551.
  17. Fiensy, 68–69
  18. Fiensy, 75–77
  19. Landman, Leo (1979). "The Jewish Quarterly Review New Series, Vol. 70, No. 2 (JSTOR)". The Jewish Quarterly Review. 70 (2): 125–128. JSTOR   1453874.
  20. Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN   978-0-06-073817-4
  21. Crossan, John Dominic. The essential Jesus. Edison: Castle Books. 1998. “Contexts,” pp 1–24.
  22. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
  23. Sanders terms it a "minor village." Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. p. 104
  24. Laughlin, 192–194. See also Reed's Chapter 3, pp. 131–134.
  25. Reed, 114–117, quotation p. 115
  26. Reed, Chapter 4 in general, pp. 125–131 on the Jewish nature of Sepphoris, and pp. 131–134
  27. Borgen, Peder Johan; Aune, David Edward; Seland, Torrey; Ulrichsen, Jarl Henning (5 March 2018). Neotestamentica Et Philonica: Studies in Honour of Peder Borgen. BRILL. ISBN   978-9004126107 via Google Books.
  28. For example, Dickson, 47
  29. Vermes, (2004) pp. 398–417.
  30. Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Birth & Infancy Stories" pp. 497–526.
  31. Holy Apostles Convent (1989). The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. Buena Vista: Holy Apostles Convent and Dormition Skete. p. 64. ISBN   978-0-944359-03-7.
  32. See, e.g., David Brown. "Commentary on Matthew 13:56". Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Whole Bible . Retrieved 2009-01-07. An exceedingly difficult question here arises—What were these 'brethren' and 'sisters' to Jesus? Were they, First, His full brothers and sisters? or, Secondly, Were they His step-brothers and step-sisters, children of Joseph by a former marriage? or, Thirdly, Were they cousins, according to a common way of speaking among the Jews respecting persons of collateral descent? On this subject an immense deal has been written, nor are opinions yet by any means agreed. For the second opinion there is no ground but a vague tradition, arising probably from the wish for some such explanation. The first opinion undoubtedly suits the text best in all the places where the parties are certainly referred to (Mt 12:46; and its parallels, Mr 3:31; Lu 8:19; our present passage, and its parallels, Mr 6:3; Joh 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Ac 1:14). But, in addition to other objections, many of the best interpreters, thinking it in the last degree improbable that our Lord, when hanging on the cross, would have committed His mother to John if He had had full brothers of His own then alive, prefer the third opinion; although, on the other hand, it is not to be doubted that our Lord might have good reasons for entrusting the guardianship of His doubly widowed mother to the beloved disciple in preference even to full brothers of His own. Thus dubiously we prefer to leave this vexed question, encompassed as it is with difficulties!
  33. "Judaism 101: Marriage". www.jewfaq.org.
  34. "Kiddushin -- Betrothal". www.chabad.org.
  35. Barclay, William (1 November 1998). The Ten Commandments. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 100. ISBN   978-0-664-25816-0.
  36. 1 2 Everett Ferguson, Michael P. McHugh, Frederick W. Norris, article "Joseph" in Encyclopedia of early Christianity, Volume 1, p. 629
  37. Luigi Gambero, "Mary and the fathers of the church: the Blessed Virgin Mary in patristic thought" pp. 35–41
  38. CHURCH FATHERS: The History of Joseph the Carpenter . Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  39. Cyprus), Saint Epiphanius (Bishop of Constantia in; texts), Frank Williams (Specialist in early Christian; Holl, Karl (2013). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: De fide. Books II and III. Leiden [u.a.]: BRILL. p. 622. ISBN   978-9004228412.
  40. College, St. Epiphanius of Cyprus ; translated by Young Richard Kim, Calvin (2014). Ancoratus 60:1. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. p. 144. ISBN   978-0-8132-2591-3 . Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  41. Williams, translated by Frank (1994). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis : Books II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) in Sect 78:9:6. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 607. ISBN   9789004098985 . Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  42. Williams, translated by Frank (2013). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis (Second, revised ed.). Leiden [u.a.]: Brill. p. 36. ISBN   9789004228412 . Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  43. Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History, Book III, ch. 11.
  44. of Salamis, Epiphanius; Williams, Frank (2013). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: De fide. Books II and III Sect 78:7,5. BRILL. p. 620. ISBN   978-9004228412 . Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  45. Peter Kirby
  46. Contra Celsum, trans Henry Chadwick, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965)
  47. P. Thomas, Joseph. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Joseph. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  48. 1 2 The liturgy and time by Irénée Henri Dalmais, Aimé Georges Martimort, Pierre Jounel 1985 ISBN   0-8146-1366-7 page 143
  49. Holy people of the world: a cross-cultural encyclopedia, Volume 3 by Phyllis G. Jestice 2004 ISBN   1-57607-355-6 page 446
  50. Bernard of Clairvaux and the shape of monastic thought by M. B. Pranger 1997 ISBN   90-04-10055-5 page 244
  51. The childhood of Christ by Thomas Aquinas, Roland Potter, 2006 ISBN   0-521-02960-0 pages 110–120
  52. Aquinas on doctrine by Thomas Gerard Weinandy, John Yocum 2004 ISBN   0-567-08411-6 page 248
  53. Medieval mothering by John Carmi Parsons, Bonnie Wheeler 1999 ISBN   0-8153-3665-9 page 107
  54. Vatican website: Quamquam pluries
  55. "Sunday - Catholic Magazine". sunday.niedziela.pl.
  56. Foundations of the Christian way of life by Jacob Prasad 2001 ISBN   88-7653-146-7 page 404
  57. Vatican website: Redemptoris Custos
  58. Cradle of redeeming love: the theology of the Christmas mystery by John Saward 2002 ISBN   0-89870-886-9 page 230
  59. Divine likeness: toward a Trinitarian anthropology of the family by Marc Ouellet ISBN   0-8028-2833-7 page 102
  60. Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker Retrieved 3 October 2014
  61. "Tisch". www.clerus.org.
  62. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 89
  63. 19 March is observed as the Feast of Saint Joseph, Guardian of Jesus, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Some Protestant traditions also celebrate this festival.
  64. Jankowski, Nicole (18 March 2017). "Move Over, St. Patrick: St. Joseph's Feast Is When Italians Parade : The Salt : NPR". NPR . Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  65. Non-Stop New York's Italianissimo: La Festa di San Giuseppe NYC-Style
  66. 1 2 Clarkson, Janet (2013). Food History Almanac. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 262. ISBN   144222715X.
  67. "Louisiana Project - St. Joseph's Day Altars". houstonculture.org.
  68. Foley, O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media, ISBN   978-0-86716-887-7
  69. Mention Your Request Here: The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel, 2000 ISBN   0-87973-341-1 page 154
  70. Devotions to St. Joseph by Susanna Magdalene Flavius, 2008 ISBN   1-4357-0948-9 pages 5–15
  71. Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph Tan Books, ISBN   978-0-89555-446-8
  72. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales ISBN   0-7661-0074-X Kessinger Press 1942 page 297
  73. The interior castle by Saint Teresa of Avila, Paulist Press 1979, ISBN   0-8091-2254-5 page 2
  74. The Story of a Soul by Saint Therese De Lisieux Bibliolife 2008 0554261588 page 94
  75. Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN   0-87973-910-X page 449
  76. Applebome, Peter (2009-09-16). "St. Joseph, Superagent in Real Estate". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  77. cf. Matthew 12:46–50, Mark 3:31–35, Luke 8:19–21; Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3; cf. section above
  78. Shapiro:6–7
  79. Finding St. Joseph by Sandra Miesel gives a useful account of the changing views of Joseph in art and generally in Catholicism
  80. Waldemar Januszczak, "No ordinary Joe", The Sunday Times, December 2003
  81. Wilson, Carolyn C., St. Joseph in Italian Renaissance Society and Art, Saint Joseph's University Press, 2001, ISBN   9780916101367
  82. Black, Charlene Villaseñor, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph, Princeton University Press, 2006, ISBN   9780691096315

Sources

Further reading

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Prayer to Saint Joseph

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