St. Joseph


I was wanting to know why it appears to me that Joseph, the husband of the Theotokos and the step-father of our Lord is not as honored, especially during the Nativity season as he is in Catholicism.

Are there any prayers to him? I have deep respect for him and what he did for Mary in the face of great adversity. I also acknowledge that I’m not familiar with what is available concerning him in Orthodox prayer and hymnography.

Are there any icons of him that I can find? Any help or information concerning this would be deeply appreciated.

By the way, the western Saint, Saint Teresa of Avila, has a beautiful testimony in her autobiography encouraging others to “go to Joseph.”


Indeed, the Orthodox Church honors Saint Joseph, especially during the Nativity Season. In fact, the feast of Saint Joseph always falls on the Sunday after Christmas, and there are a variety of hymns called for at all services on that weekend which refer to him as well as the other ancestors of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the Orthodox Church, Saint Joseph bears the title “the Betrothed,” as he was the one who was betrothed to the Virgin Mary. So inimately connected to the Nativity is Joseph that he is found in every icon of the Nativity, referred to numerous times throughout the Nativity cycle of services, etc.

He is also referred to in many of the hymns for the Feast of the Circumcision (1 January), and especially on the Great Feast of the Meeting, or Presentation, of Our Lord in the Temple (2 February). There is even an Akathist Hymn to Saint Joseph. And, by coincidence, my own parish in Wheaton, IL, is dedicated to Saint Joseph the Betrothed!

What must be kept in mind is that the Roman Catholic devotions to Saint Joseph are of much, much more recent origins—in fact, the feast of “Saint Joseph the Worker,” widely celebrated in Roman Catholic circles on 1 May, was only added to the Roman calendar in the early 20th century! The emphasis on Saint Joseph being a carpenter is of little importance for Orthodox; rather, he is revered for being the betrothed of the Virgin Mary and the human guardian of the Christ child. While Orthodox Christians do not deny that he had been a carpenter, his worldly occupation is completely secondary to his role as the betrothed.