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The deaths of Zachariah and his wife The Righteous Elizabeth

The Deaths of Zachariah and his wife The righteous Elizabeth as reported  in THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA.

Prophet Zachariah the father of St John the Baptist

The Holy Prophet Zachariah and the Righteous Elizabeth were the parents of the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. They were descended from the lineage of Aaron: St Zachariah, son of Barach, was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, and St Elizabeth was the sister of St Anna, the mother of the Most Holy Theotokos. The righteous spouses, “walking in all the commandments of the Lord (Luke 1:6), suffered barrenness, which in those times was considered a punishment from God.
Once, during his turn of priestly service in the Temple, St Zachariah was told by an angel that his aged 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 that this prediction would come true, and for his weakness of faith he was punished by becoming mute. When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit she 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 inspired by the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy about his son as the Forerunner of the Lord.
When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.
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. The murderers searched everywhere for John. 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 from their pursuers.
In these tragic days St Zachariah was taking his turn at the services in the Temple. Soldiers sent by Herod tried in vain to learn from him the whereabouts of his son. Then, by command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him between the temple and the altar (MT 23: 35). Elizabeth died forty days after her husband, and St John, preserved by the Lord, dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to the nation of Israel.
On the Greek calendar, Sts Zachariah and Elizabeth are also commemorated on June 24, the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.

It is written in Matthew 23:35 that Zacharias son of Barachias was slewn between the temple and the Altar:  Confirmed in the New International Bible.   


  1. Well this is quite different from the story in the New Testament, but nevertheless very interesting.
    Thanks for your visit and comment. I think the three angels in the Norwegian decoration, are girls helding swans in their hands, and that it is a pagan Norwegian legend. I shall try and find what the story is about.
    Have a great week.
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  2. Thanks, Di! This has been an interesting "journey" for each of us! I really appreciate your exploring further... And you can understand why I was scratching my head! ;-)

    The most important points are the hope we have in that God, being the creator and sovereign being that wants each of us to reside, after our earthly death, in ongoing Life eternal with no sadness, illness, etc., peacefully and in joy, in His presence with everyone who has accepted the grace he has offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!


  3. Hi Wil,
    Thanks for taking the time to come back to carry on the quest for truth re the final part od Zachariah's and Elizabeth's life and the only ending came to Zachariah's life is clearly spoken in Matthew 23:35, to quote.....
    "And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Berakiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar".
    I must confess, it is confusing when the writers alter the names
    slightly...just to confuse us even further..
    That's it! I'm done with 'Z' now...roll on our new round starting with 'A' !
    Happy weekend dear Wil,
    love Di x

  4. Shady Gardener,
    Hello again.
    I should really write to the American Orthodox Church and ask them where they got their information about The Righteous Ruth's passing.
    If the story of John's survival in the wilderness is to be believed, it would make more sense if his mother lived long enough to care for him, surely a baby couldn't survive in the wild without being cared for?
    Then look at Romulus and Remus, raised by wolves in the hills of Rome ????
    fact or fiction...who knows?
    'A heavenly story with an earthly meaning'...Parable!
    'Life eternal with no sickness or sadness, peacefully and in joy'
    Now that really appeals to me.

    It's been a delight talking this over, I look forward to many more discussions with you,
    Di. xx

  5. Well done with all that research! Are you going to start at A now again?! xx

  6. Hello Flower Pot,
    Lovely to hear from you and thank you for your kind comments.
    I have had such a good response to my Z post, and it wasn't easy.
    But once I get my teeth into something I won't let it go until I find the answer, bit like your Molls with a bone.
    Happy New Year, oh and yes I'm working on the letter A,
    Love di xx


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I always try to reply to each comment on an individual basis so please pop back, when you have time, as there may be more to learn from either side, i.e. myself and commenter Thank you, Di x

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