How was the Mother of Christ brought up? How did she live in society? What do we know of her spiritual life?
Our primary source, the "Protoevangelium of Saint James," gives little-known details of the lives of Joseph, the Virgin Mary and her parents, Joachim and Anna. It is a work that dates back to the 1st century A. D. - to the time when the Mother of Christ our God was still on earth.
This book was not included in the New Testament canon, but that is not to say that it should be rejected. Although the "Protoevangelium" is not considered a divinely inspired text, as are the Gospels, it is a rich source of information about the Mother of God -information which the Church acknowledges to be genuine.
In presenting this life of the Mother of God, we draw upon the same elements that the Church used from the Protoevangelium for its early hymns and feasts.
Archim. Vassilios Bakoyannis