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The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On November 21st, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple. Though not recorded in canonical scripture, tradition holds that at a young age, Ann and Joachim, Mary's parents, brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem to have her consecrated to God. In some accounts, it is said that she was taken to the Temple at the age of 3 and lived there, being educated, until she was betrothed to Joseph. Like much to do with the early life of the Virgin and of her mother and father, the story has been handed down in tradition and upheld by Doctors of the Church, though the only written accounts are found in documents determined to be apocryphal.

The Catholic Encyclopedia recounts the history of the recognition of the Feast which was celebrated in the East first:

"The corresponding feast originated in the Orient, probably in Syria, the home of the apocrypha. Cardinal Pitra has published a great...liturgical poem in Greek for this feast, composed by some "Georgios" about the seventh or eighth century. The feast is missing in the earlier Menology of Constantinople (eighth century); it is found, however, in the liturgical documents of the eleventh century, like the 'Calend. Ostromiranum' and the Menology of Basil II. It appears in the constitution of Manuel Comnenos (1166) as a fully recognized festival during which the law courts did not sit.

In the West it was introduced by a French nobleman, Philippe de Mazières, Chancellor of the King of Cyprus, who spent some time at Avignon during the pontificate of Gregory XI. It was celebrated in the presence of the cardinals (1372) with an office accommodated from the office chanted by the Greeks. In 1373 it was adopted in the royal chapel at Paris, 1418 at Metz, 1420 at Cologne. Pius II granted (1460) the feast with a vigil to the Duke of Saxony. It was taken up by many dioceses, but at the end of the Middle Ages, it was still missing in many calendars. At Toledo it was assigned (1500) by Cardinal Ximenes to 30 September. Sixtus IV received it into the Roman Breviary, Pius V struck it from the calendar, but Sixtus V took it up a second time (1585)."

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