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The story of Joachim, his wife Anne (or Anna), and the miraculous birth of their child Mary, the mother of Jesus, is told for the first time in the 2nd century apocryphal infancy-gospel the Gospel of James (also called Protoevangelium of James). Joachim is a rich and pious man, who regularly gave to the poor. However, at the temple, Joachim's sacrifice was rejected, as the couple's childlessness was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdrew to the desert, where he fasted and did penance for 40 days. Angels then appeared to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child.

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