Zachariah the Prophet icon
Orthodox Icon of Prophet Zachariah, Zacharias.
Commemorated September 5.
The Holy Prophet Zachariah and the Righteous Elizabeth were the parents of the holy Prophet, John the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord. Zachariah was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, and Elizabeth was the sister of Anna, the mother of the Most Holy Theotokos. They both were childless. During a service in the Temple, Prophet Zachariah was told by an angel that his wife would bear him a son, who will be great in the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15) and will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias (Luke 1:17).
Zachariah doubted this prediction was punished for his weak faith by being made mute. When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, and announced that his name was John, although no one in their family had this name. They asked Zachariah and he also wrote the name John down on a tablet. Immediately the gift of speech returned to him, and he began to prophesy about his son as the Forerunner of the Lord. King Herod knew about John's unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. One day when Zachariah was taking his turn at the services in the Temple, soldiers sent by Herod tried discover the whereabouts of his son.
By command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him between the temple and the altar (MT 23: 35).
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