st.Zachary-Father of St. John the Baptist

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Feast Day : November 5 (with Elizabeth)




Name meaning: Jehovah hath remembered



Also known as: Zacharius; Zechariah



Little is known about Zachary. He is mentioned in Luke 1 in connection with the birth of John. He belonged to the tribe of Abia (Abijah) and was married to Elizabeth, kinswoman of Mary (destined to become the Blessed Virgin Mary). He was a priest in the temple at Jerusalem. Zachary and Elizabeth were childless and well advanced in years when they were informed by Gabriel the Archangel that Elizabeth would bear a child. Zachary received this news one day while he was performing his assigned rites in the temple and was alone at the altar. Gabriel appeared on his right and said that the couple’s prayers would be answered with the birth of a son, who was to be named John. Zachary doubted this because of their ages and so asked for a sign. Gabriel said he would be stricken dumb and would regain his speech when the prophecy was fulfilled. The angel departed and Zachary could not speak. Elizabeth did conceive and she bore a son. After eight days, the parents took him to the temple to be circumcised. Elizabeth said the child’s name was John, but the priests did not believe her, saying no one in her family was named thus. Zachary, still dumb, wrote on a tablet for the priest, “His name is John.” At that moment his speech was restored and he began to praise the Lord. According to ex-canonical sources, Zachary was killed when he refused to tell King Herod the location of his son.

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