A historian has identified the great-grandmother of Jesus.
According to Florentine medieval manuscripts analyzed by a historian, the great-grandmother of Jesus was a woman named St. Ismeria.
St. Ismeria likely served as a role model for older women during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The legend of St. Ismeria sheds light on both the Biblical Virgin Mary's family and also on religious and cultural values of 14th-century Florence.
"I don't think any other woman is mentioned" as Mary's grandmother in the Bible, Catherine Lawless, author of the paper said.
"Mary's patrilineal lineage is the only one given," Discovery News quoted Lawless as saying.
"Mary herself is mentioned very little in the Bible," added Lawless, a lecturer in history at the University of Limerick.
"The huge Marian cult that has evolved over centuries has very few scriptural sources."
Lawless studied the St. Ismeria story, which she said has been "ignored by scholars," in two manuscripts: the 14th century "MS Panciatichiano 40" of Florence's National Central Library and the 15th century "MS 1052" of the Riccardiana Library, also in Florence.
"According to the legend, Ismeria is the daughter of Nabon of the people of Judea, and of the tribe of King David," wrote Lawless.
She married "Santo Liseo," who is described as "a patriarch of the people of God." The legend continues that the couple had a daughter named Anne who married Joachim. After 12 years, Liseo died. Relatives then left Ismeria penniless.
"I'm pretty sure one is supposed to believe that it was either her dead husband's relatives or, less likely, her natal family," Lawless said.
"The family of the Virgin Mary would not have been cast in such a light," Lawless added.
Ismeria then goes to a hospital where she finds refuge. She is said to perform a miracle, filling a shell with fish to feed all of the hospital's patients. After this miracle she prays to be taken away from the "vainglory of this world."
After God called her to "Paradise," a rector at the hospital informed the Virgin Mary and Jesus of her passing. They departed for the hospital with the 12 Apostles, Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Mary Cleophas. There they paid honor to St. Ismeria.
The legend of St. Ismeria has been published in the current Journal of Medieval History. (ANI)