Prophet Zacharias, Father of Saint John the Forerunner

The Life of Prophet Zacharias: Once, during his turn of Priestly Service in the Temple, Saint Zacharias was told by an Angel that his aged wife would bear him a son…


Synaxis of Prophet Zacharias and Saint Elizabeth: September 5th & June 24th

Prophet Zacharias and Saint Elizabeth were married but did not have any children for many years. They Prayed to God to give them a child and with God’s Blessing they became the Parents of Saint John the Forerunner.

Troparion: 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!

Apolytikion: In the Vesture of a Priest, according to the Law of God, thou didst offer unto Him well-pleasing whole-burnt offerings, as it befitted a Priest, O Wise Zacharias. Thou wast a shining light, a seer of Mysteries, bearing in thyself clearly the signs of Grace; and in God’s Temple, O Wise Prophet of Christ God, thou wast slain with the sword. Hence, with the Forerunner, make entreaty that our Souls find Salvation.

Kontakion: On this day the Prophet and Venerable Priest of the Most High, even Zacharias, who begat the Forerunner, hath now mixed for us the draught of Virtue and set the table of his Sacred memory nourishing all the faithful; for this cause do we extol him as a most Godly initiate of Grace Divine.


Entrance in the Temple of the Mother of God: November 21st

Saint Zacharias, the High Priest of the Temple, received into his arms our Most Holy Mother of God when she was three years old. Her parents, Saint Joachim and Saint Anna, led her into the Temple of the Lord, consecrating her to God as they had promised Him. This is where she lived her childhood, and tended to by the Holy Archangel Gabriel.


Conception of Saint John the Forerunner: September 23rd

Apolytikion: Rejoice, O thou barren one who hadst not borne until now; for lo, in all truth thou hast conceived the lamp of the Sun, and he shall send forth his light over all the Earth, which is afflicted with blindness. Dance, O Zacharias, and cry out with great boldness: The one to be born is the blest Prophet of God Most High.

Kontakion: Great Zacharias now doth rejoice with resplendence; Elizabeth his glorious yoke-mate exulteth; for she hath conceived Divine John the Forerunner worthily, whom the great Archangel had announced with rejoicing, whom, as it is meet, we men revere as a sacred initiate of Grace Divine.


The Visitation of the Most Holy Mother of God and Saint Elizabeth: March 30th

When Our Most Blessed Lady was pregnant she went with Saint Joseph to visit her cousin Saint Elizabeth, who was also pregnant, and her husband Prophet Zacharias. The two babies in the wombs recognised each other, and thus began the Prophesying of Saint John, before he was born!


Nativity of Saint John the Forerunner: June 24th

Apolytikion: O Prophet and Forerunner of the presence of Christ, we who fervently honour you cannot worthily praise you. For by your revered and glorious birth the barrenness of your mother and the muteness of your father were unbound, and the Incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.

Kontakion: She that once was barren doth today bring forth Christ’s Forerunner, John, the culmination and the crown of all the Prophets. For when he, in River Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the Prophets preached aforetime, he was revealed as God the Word’s fore-chosen Prophet, His mighty preacher, and His Forerunner in Grace.

Hymn: The Voice of the Word of Grace has come: The preacher of the Light of Light! He is born from the barren womb of Elizabeth. Rejoice, people; he comes, preparing the way of Salvation for us. He leaped in the womb and worshipped his Master: the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great Mercy.

Hymn: O all-praised John, and universal Apostle, the good news of Gabriel, and the root from the barren womb, and the most-beautiful adornment of the desert, and true friend of Christ the Bridegroom: entreat Him, that He might have mercy on our Souls.

Hymn: The great Forerunner shines forth today, from fruitless loins, coming forth from Elizabeth, he who is the Prophet greater than all the Prophets. There is none like him, nor will there come another after, for after the light of the lamp that is the Forerunner follows the surpassingly radiant Voice of the Logos, and the Bridegroom of the Bride, the Lord Who prepares a people for Himself, and cleanses them beforehand by the Spirit through the water. [John is] the root of Zacharias, and the beautiful fruit of the desert, the preacher of repentance, the cleansing of offenses, he who preaches to those in Hades of the Resurrection from the dead, and who intercedes on behalf of our Souls.


Luke 1: 76-77

And you, child, will be called the Prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of Salvation to His people.

Saint John grew up in the Desert because when King Herod was killing the Holy Innocents, all the baby boys in an attempt to kill the new born Baby Jesus, a rock opened up to conceal Saint Elizabeth and her son. The soldiers killed Prophet Zacharias in the Temple when he refused to say where his child went, and forty days afterwards Saint Elizabeth reposed. Saint John was then led to the wilderness by an Angel where he grew up.