While I was doing some reading on how Catholics celebrate various feasts and festivals from around the world, I noticed that the city of Lyons, France celebrates the Festival of Lights on December 8th each year which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Jewish community celebrate the Festival of Hanukkah on the 25th of Kislev.

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.

While reading this question, I became intrigued as to know if the building of the Temple of Herod which is believed have to commenced in or around the year 20 BC and the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary could have happened about the same time.

If Our Lord was born between the years 6 BC and 4 BC and Mary was possibly married to St Joseph between the ages of 14 - 16 years old, could not the Immaculate Conception and the commencement of the building of the Temple of Herod not have coincided in the same year?

My question is this: Has any Church Father or Church writer ever addressed the possibility of the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception and the commencement of the building of the Temple of Herod as happening in the same year?

  • The Christian feast of November 21 is undoubtedly based on the Jewish feast of Kislev 25; similarly for September 14 and Tishri 10. December 8, on the other hand, has always been, historically speaking, dependent on September 8, and not the other way around. Nevertheless, your question still stands; see also John 2:20.
    – user46876
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


Not a Church Father, possibly not a Church writer, but good enough for Mel Gibson, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich had a vision that was recorded in "The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary". Wherein it is written:

All that has so far been recorded of the blessing given to Joachim and Anna is compiled from visions and reminiscences of Catherine Emmerich during the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. She explained, however, on that day in the year 1821 that the meeting of Joachim and Anna under the Golden Gate did not occur in December but in the autumn, at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (which lasted from the 15th to 23rd of the month Tisri, i.e. in September or October). Thus she saw Joachim building tabernacles with his shepherds before going to the Temple, and Anna receiving the promise of fruitfulness while she was praying under a tree which formed a tabernacle. In the previous year, 1820, she had, however, stated that she remembered Joachim having gone up to Jerusalem with his offerings on the occasion of a dedication festival. This cannot be the usual Jewish dedication feast in the winter (the 25th day of the month, Kislev), but must doubtless be a memorial festival of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple

Life of Mary

So yes, there was some mention of Mary's Immaculate Conception being close to the the Haunakah

And she does address the rebuilding of the temple, which did take a long time:

I never remember seeing that Herod entirely rebuilt the Temple: I only saw various alterations being made in it during his reign. Now, when Mary came to the Temple, eleven years before Christ’s birth, nothing was being built in the Temple itself, but (as always) in the outer portions of it: here the work never stopped.

At the Incarnation of Christ the Blessed Virgin was a little over fourteen years old

She also had visions of Joachim and Anne meeting at the temple well before 20 B.C. which isn't by any means wrong since they were just beefing up the temple that the Maccabees rededicated.

I was reading Bl. Anne Catherine's visions trying to find something that didn't quite jibe with the historical accounts of the rebuilding of the temple specifically, but I'm not sure there's anything that doesn't match up. She didn't however connect the Immaculate Conception to anything Herod was doing.

Except, for one thing, which might be a stretch, that the Ark of the Covenant, being missing from the temple when it was rebuilt was there all along in Mary!

Also, Jimmy Akin has some interesting research into the various years that Jesus may have been born in. Placing His birth at 2 or 3 B.C. as a more likely guess. Doing a dangerous thing and mixing the visions with the archaeology places The Immaculate Conception at 17 or 18 B.C. which is consistent.

I was thinking "Hard Hat Area", but apparently the temple wasn't entirely cut off from regular folks at the time:

The laity could not enter certain parts of the building, therefore 1000 Levites were specially trained as builders and masons, and carried out their work so efficiently and carefully that at no time was there any interruption in the sacrifices and other services.


  • For would the sake of this question, I will accept that Clemens Brentano would be considered a Catholic writer and author in so far as he wrote on historical subjects. Well done, Peter.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 11:03

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