26 JulySouth-Est Cesa Bianchi Spire-G117
No official Christian text reports his name. He can be found in the 2nd century apocryphal gospel, known as the Protogospel of St. James, native of Sepphoris or Jerusalem. The text describes him as a very rich and pious man, who gave his earnings to those in need and in sacrifices to God. He was one of the Righteous of Israel, the 36 men who, according to the Talmud, live each generation on the earth: whenever God decides to punish mankind for their sins, the 36 Righteous, with their exemplary conduct, make him change his mind. The destiny of humanity depends upon them. Joachim was one of them due to his piety and goodness, but one day was accused by a certain Ruben of being, in reality, unworthy because he had no children. Acknowledging this shortcoming, he withdrew for forty days into the desert, praying and fasting to obtain the Grace of God. In the meantime, his wife Anne prayed that she might become fertile. God sent an angel to her who announced that she was pregnant; and also told Joachim in the desert, who hurried back home to Anne to embrace her. She was expecting a girl child, who her parents called Mary. Love for a child is measurable by how much that child is desired, and Joachim desired his child Mary a great deal, so much so that he did not fear exile or fasting. When she turned one, Joachim held a party for his daughter, a banquet to which he invited all the priests so that they might bless her. At three years of age, at the advice of Anne, he dedicated the child to God in the temple, with a great procession. He died not long afterwards, perhaps in his eighties, but having already guessed the very important destiny that his daughter would have, as the future mother of Christ. Although apocryphal, the Protoevangelium was held in consideration by several fathers and historians of the Church, as a reliable source of the ancient oral tradition of the 1st century BC. Joachim derives from the Hebrew Jehôiâqîm, and means “preparation of the Lord”. Joachim is the man who God uses to prepare for the coming of his son, which without Mary would not have been possible. He is the first step in the divine project, the first piece of a multicolour mosaic that would decorate the progress of mankind. On the Duomo we can find him on one of the four spires at the base of the Main Spire, on which the Virgin Mary rises. He is an old man, looking upwards. His daughter is in the glory of the Heavens, but he does not forego his role as a father: he remains beside her, he watches her shine, proud as only a father may be of his daughter, standing behind her as if to protect her. Joachim is the protector of married couples, parents and grandparents. He is the patron saint of Basaluzzo, Bosco, Catabbio (a hamlet of Semproniano), Colfiorito (a hamlet of Foligno), Colleferro Scalo, Vernola and is joint patron saint of Naples.