Today is November 21, 2007, and the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox church both celebrate the Presentation of Mary in the temple.
This celebration clearly shows that the Roman Catholic tradition and the Greek Orthodox church do not rely on Scripture alone.
Let's begin by looking at some history:
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Protoevangel of James, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, and other apocryphal
writings (Walker, "Apocryph. Gosp.", Edinburgh
, 1873) relate that Mary, at the age of three, was brought by her parents
to the Temple
, in fulfillment of a vow
, there to be educated
. The corresponding feast
originated in the Orient, probably in Syria
, the home of the apocrypha
. Card. Pitra (Anal. Spici. Solesmensi, p. 265) has published a great canon (liturgical poem) in Greek for this feast
, composed by some "Georgios" about the seventh or eighth century. The feast
is missing in the earlier Menology
of Constantinople (eighth century); it is found, however, in the liturgical
documents of the eleventh century, like the "Calend. Ostromiranum" (Martinow, "Annus græco-slav.", 329) and the Menology
of Basil II (e’ísodos tes panagías Theotókon). It appears in the constitution of Manuel Comnenos (1166) as a fully recognized festival during which the law
courts did not sit. In the West it was introduced by a French nobleman, Philippe de Mazières, Chancellor of the King of Cyprus
, who spent some time
during the pontificate of Gregory XI
. It was celebrated in the presence of the cardinals
(1372) with an office accommodated from the office chanted
by the Greeks. In 1373 it was adopted in the royal chapel
, 1418 at Metz
, 1420 at Cologne. Pius II
granted (1460) the feast
with a vigil to the Duke of Saxony
. It was taken up by many dioceses
, but at the end of the Middle Ages
, it was still missing in many calendars
(Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", III, 137). At Toledo it was assigned (1500) by Cardinal Ximenes
to 30 September. Sixtus IV
received it into the Roman Breviary
, Pius V
struck it from the calendar, but Sixtus V
took it up a second time (1 September, 1585). In the province of Venice
it is a double of the second class with an octave (1680); the Passionists
keep it as a double of the first class; the Servites
, and others as a double of the second with an octave. In the Roman Calendar
it is a major double. The Greeks keep it for five days. In some German dioceses
, under the title "Illatio", it was kept 26 November (Grotefend, III, 137).
Notice the following from that entry:
1. No scripture source was given to support this celebration other than a few Apocryphal writings:
The ones listed were:
The Protoevangel of James: You can read about this book at the link: James
Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew; You can read about this book here: Matthew
the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary
2. Was not made an official feast until 1 September, 1585. It is true that this feast was talked about in the 6th century. The Catholic encyclopedia also tells us that Pius V
struck it from the calendar. So it appears to have been somewhat controversial.
Consider this article found at: American Catholic.org
Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.
Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.
Did you notice that important phrase, " though it cannot be proven historically?"
The Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox church set aside a day to remember an event that has no historical proof and can only be found in a few Apocryphal books that should be rejected by all.