Absent from any of the Gospels are descriptions in any detail on the physical appearance of any member of the Holy Family. However, pious Church tradition and ancient writings can offer insight into their potential heights.

“He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him.” – Isaiah 53:2 

Jesus and Joseph

Historically, various writings by Church figures have attested to the stature for Christ, and it’s not a far cry to assume Saint Joseph would also have a similar height.

In the 4th century, Saint Ephrem the Syrian wrote: “God took human form and appeared in the form of three human ells [cubits]; he came down to us small of stature.” Theodore of Antioch attested to Saint Ephrem, saying Christ’s stature was smaller than that of the Israelites. Three special cubits is around 5’1″.

Research on ancient skeletons by archaeologists have determined Judean men of the time were on average around 5 feet 5 inches in height. Scholarly consensus agrees with Church writings that Christ would be no exception, attested by Judas having to point Him out among the disciples.


The writings of Saints attests to the height of Mary as three cubits, around 4’6″.

“In the midst of them, before the gaze of them all, lies the body of the Mother of God: three cubits in height, radiant with light – the body that received the fullness of God’s word, who rules all things.” – Saint Andrew of Crete

“How, after all, can something three cubits long, something that grows more frail each day, be compared with the breadth and length of heaven?” – Saint John of Damascus

When Saint Bernadette Soubirous described the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes, she spoke of a “a tiny maiden” no taller than herself. Soubirous was only 4’7″ tall at the time.

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