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Joseph the Betrothed

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[[Image:stjosephthebetrothed.jpg|right|frame|Courtesy of St. Joseph the [ Orthodox Church in America]Betrothed]]The holy and righteous '''St. Joseph the Betrothed''', also referred to as '''Joseph of Nazareth''', was the foster-father of [[Jesus Christ]], according to the [[New Testament]] ([[Gospel of Matthew|Matthew]] 1:16; [[Gospel of Luke|Luke]] 3:23). Not much is known of Joseph except that he was "of the House of David" and lived in the town of Nazareth. His date of death is unknown, though he was still living when Jesus was 12 years old.
He was betrothed to the [[Theotokos|Virgin Mary]] at the time that Mary conceived Jesus. Luke says that he lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4); however, according to Matthew, it was only after the return from Egypt that he settled in [[Nazareth]] (Matthew 2:23). He is called a "just man". He was by trade a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). He is last mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that Joseph died before Jesus entered on his public ministry because only Mary was present at the [[marriage ]] feast in Cana of [[Galilee]], and he is not described at the [[crucifixion]] along with Mary ([[Gospel of John|John]] 19:25). In addition , St. [[Joseph of Arimathea]] asked for the body of Jesus, a duty that would have fallen to Saint St. Joseph had he been alive.
[[Jesus|Jesus Christ]] is described as being the brother of [[James the Just|James]], [[Apostle Justus|Justus]], [[Apostle Jude|Jude]], and Simon, and several sisters ([[Gospel of Mark|Mark]] 6:3; Matthew 13:55). A tradition at least as early as the second century, still adopted by the [[Eastern OrthodoxyOrthodox Church]], explains that these "brothers and sisters" were from Joseph's marriage to Salome who left him a widower before he married Mary and so making them step-brothers and step-sisters. He was the older brother to [[Apostle Cleopas|Cleopas]], who was also married to a woman named Mary.
That Jesus commended Mary to the care of [[Apostle John|John the Evangelist]] while he was hanging on the cross has been interpreted to also suggest that Joseph had died by that time, and that Joseph and Mary did not have any other children who might care for Mary.
In many [[icon]]s of the [[Nativity]], Joseph is shown being tempted by the [[Devil]] (depicted as an old man with furled wings) to break off his betrothal, and resisting that temptation(cf. [[Nativity Icon]]).
Also in the imagery of the Christian church, statues of Joseph depict his staff topped with flowers, recalling the [[Gospel of James|Protevangelion]]'s account of how Mary's spouse was chosen. Among the collected walking sticks of widowers in Israel, Joseph was distinguished when his staff burst into flower.
Saint St. Joseph is commemorated on [[December 26]], along with David the King and [[James the Just|James the Brother of our Lord]]. There is an [[akathist]] hymn dedicated to him.
==External links==
*[ Holy Righteous Joseph the Betrothed, along with David the King, and James the Brother of the Lord] ([[OCA]])*[ Q&A about St. Joseph] (OCA) *[ Translations of the Protevangelium of James] from the [ Early Christian Writings]*[ Orthodox html The Akathist Hymn in Honor of the Righteous Joseph, the Betrothed of the Most-Holy Virgin, Mary], according to the usage of the Kyivan Church in Americaof the Catholic Communion ([[Uniate]] ) 
*[ Translations of the Protevangelium of James] from [ Early Christian Writings]
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