The feast also carries miraculous overtones, given the barrenness suffered by her parents, Joachim and Anna. The feast defines Mary as a key figure in the salvation of humanity.
By your holy birth, O pure one, Joachim and Anna were freed from the curse of barrenness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death; your people also, who have been freed from the guilt of their sins, celebrate the feast of your birth by crying unto you: "The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, who nursed [Christ], our life." (27)
Romanos's canticle on the birth of Mary is instructive, as it conveys the significance of the feast of Mary's Birth itself, with specific references to the characters of Joachim and Anna. The hymn concentrates on Mary's birth as the mysterious event that reverses humanity's plight, symbolized by the transformation of barrenness into fruitfulness.
(35) John relies on the story of Mary's birth from the Protoevangelion of James, as he traces her chastity and holiness back to Joachim and Anna:
(44) The text itself centers on Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna. (45) Joachim is wealthy and generous, and devoted to God, but poorly regarded in Israel because he has no children.
While the author of the Protoevangelion has reintroduced some basic theological themes by patterning Joachim and Anna after Abraham and Sarah, and the angelic visitation after the conception of John and the Annunciation, he does not use the occasion to make any bold soteriological statements about Mary or the event of her birth.
Both Romanos's and John Damascene's use of the Protoevangelion as a source is opportunistic, as all the characters, including Joachim and Anna, play an important role in contributing to Mary's human holiness and purity.
The feast recalls the story of Joachim and Anna, culminating in the birth of Mary.
The readings do not mention Joachim and Anna, nor do they directly reflect on Mary's own birth.
The real substance for the festal reflections on Mary's birth, its consequences for humanity, the participation of Joachim and Anna, and Mary's role in salvation history comes from the hymnography.
The Church remembers the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anna
, as well as the Presentation of the Most Holy Lady in the Temple, not just because of the influence of certain apocryphal writings, but also because of a long liturgical and oral tradition.