About St. Joseph of Arimathea


Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 7.29.46 PMSt. Joseph of Arimathea

Feast Day: March 17
1st century Saint


To many St. Joseph of Arimathea is known as the councillor as he is referred to in Luke 23:50. After the crucifixion, Joseph requested the body of Christ from Pontius Pilate. He provided a proper burial for Christ, including the tomb in which Jesus was laid.

St. Joseph is termed in the New Testament to be a virtuous and righteous man in the Gospel of Luke. St. Joseph is known to be the Uncle of the Virgin Mary, and therefore the great uncle of Jesus. It is said that in the times of Christ’s life that are undocumented, Jesus traveled with Joseph, and may have gone as far as England. St. Joseph was a lead trader and eventually, after the death of Christ settled and established congregations in England.

Because of his role in the burial of our Lord, St. Joseph of Arimathea is regarded as the Patron Saint of Funeral Directors.

Most portraits of of St. Joseph show him carrying two cruets. These were said to contain the sweat and blood of christ during the crucifixion. He is also shown many times to be carrying a staff. Legend says that after his travels to England, while discerning the best place to form his congregation, he prayed and thrust his staff into the ground. The staff took root, and leaves and berries appeared, a miraculous sign from God, that this is where he intended Joseph to settle.

According to the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, he helped establish the community of Lydda. He also was a prominent figure in the legends surrounding the Holy Grail, appearing in Rob­ert de Barron’s early thirteenth-century romance Joseph d ‘Arirnathea, William of Malmesbury’s twelfth-century De Antiquitate Glastoniensis Ecclesiae, and Thomas Mallory’s famed Morte D ‘Arthur; William of almesbury’s tale recounts Joseph’s arrival in England with the Holy Grail and the building of the first church on the isle at Glastonbury; the passage on Joseph, however, was added in the thirteenth century.