Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Our History

Parish History

St. Anne's Parish was founded as a Church of England Parish in 1745. During the pre-revolutionary war period, this parish thrived and was the center of sacred and secular life in Albemarle County. The original parish church was built on the road to Howardsville and was called the Ballenger Church. The first rector was The Rev. Robert Rose who lived on the glebe farm near Ballenger Church. Very quickly three other churches were founded: North Garden Church, Forge Church and Broken-Backt Church near Palmyra. Our most famous parishioner of the Colonial Period was Thomas Jefferson.

Unfortunately, none of these pre-revolutionary war buildings survived. Thankfully, a period of revival began in the 1820's. Today, the parish is comprised of three beautiful churches: Christ Church, Glendower built in 1832; St. John's, Scottsville built in 1875; St. Stephen's, Esmont built in 1914.


St. Anne, Our Patron Saint (Canonized 1584)  

St. Anne is the patron saint of mothers, grandmothers, homemakers, women in labor and midwives, childless people cabinet makers/ carpenters, and equestrians.

"By tradition, St. Anne and Joachim are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition. We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James that tells the story that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell St. Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. St. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God.

Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary  who brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, 'may it be done to me according to your word.' (Like 1:38) It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified, and still believe."

According to French tradition, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, his sister Martha and other friends crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Marseilles, France to spread the word of Jesus' death and resurrection. Mary Magdalene is said to have brought St. Anne's remains with them.  St. Anne's Feast Day is July 26.