The Life of Saint Elizabeth: Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant…
Synaxis of Saint Elizabeth and Prophet Zacharias: June 24th
Troparion: The memory of Your Prophets Zacharias and Elizabeth we celebrate today, O Lord. By their Prayers, we beseech You, O Christ God, save our Souls!
Kontakion: As the full moon brightly reflects the light of the sun, you reflected the Glory of the Messiah, the Light of Wisdom! With Zacharias you walked in all of the Lord’s Commandments, Elizabeth, beloved by God. So as we bless you with fitting songs, we praise the Lord, the bountiful Light, Who enlightens all.
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.
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 Archangel Gabriel announced to them they will have a child, and they became the parents of Saint John the Forerunner.
When Our Most Holy Mother of God 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 honor 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 offences, 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.
This beautiful Icon is of the Mother of God with her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ. To her right is Saint Elizabeth with Saint John the Baptist, and to her left is Saint Salome with Saint John the Beloved. These Holy Women were all first cousins because their mothers, Saint Anna, Sobea and Maria, were all sisters and daughters to the High Priest Matthas and his wife Maria.
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, Saint Elizabeth fled to a rocky and desolate place with Saint John in her arms. When Saint Elizabeth saw the soldiers following her she cried out to the mountain: “O Mountain of God, receive a mother with her child!” and the rock opened and hid the mother and child. 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 protected by God, he was one and a half years old.
Below is a photo of the Holy Tomb of Saint Elizabeth.
Below is an Icon of Christ with his beloved Saint Zacharias and Saint Elizabeth with their son Saint John the Baptist, together with Saint Joachim and Saint Anna, and their daughter Panagia.