- The Righteous Zachariah should not be confused with the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah.
The Righteous Zachariah (or Zacharias), the father of the holy Prophet St John the Baptist is commemorated by the Church on September 5 along with his wife Elizabeth. He is also remembered, in the Greek tradition, on June 24 with the Nativity of St John the Baptist.
The holy Prophet Zachariah, a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, was the son of Barach, from the lineage of Aaron. St Zachariah was told by an angel that his elderly wife would bear him a son named John, but he doubted this prediction. For his weakness of faith, Zachariah become mute. When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, motivated of the Holy Spirit, she announced that his name was John. When Zachariah confirmed the name in writing, speech returned to him, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he began to foretell about his son as the Forerunner of the Lord.
King Herod began to slaughter the children of Bethlehem after the Lord Jesus had been born. The king sent men to find and kill the son of Zachariah because he had heard all that had happened to Zachariah, and how John had been born. Elizabeth fled with John when she saw the soldiers. Herod was enraged that the child John had not been found and ordered Zachariah to be slain before the altar in temple.
- The memory of Your prophets Zachariah and Elizabeth
- We celebrate today, O Lord.
- By their prayers, we beseech You,
- O Christ God, save our souls!
Troparion (Tone 4)
- Robed in the vestments of the priesthood,
- According to the Law of God you offered whole-burnt offerings in a sacred manner, wise Zachariah.
- You became a luminary and a seer of the mysteries,
- Bearing within yourself the signs of grace, all-wise one.
- Slain by the sword in the temple of God, O prophet of Christ,
- Intercede together with the Forerunner that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
- Today the prophet, priest of the Most High and parent of the Forerunner,
- Has prepared a banquet to his memory to nourish the faithful,
- Mixing the drink of righteousness.
- Therefore we praise him as a divine initiate of the grace of God.
- Prophet Zachariah the father of St John the Baptist – OCA website
- Zacharias the Prophet & Righteous Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Baptist - GOARCH website
- The Holy Prophet Zacharias (Prologue of Ohrid)