February 8, 2016

Synaxarion of the Holy Prophet Zechariah the Sickle-Seer

On the eighth day of this month [February], we commemorate the Holy Prophet Zechariah.


You beheld intelligent angels as horses Zechariah,
Who raised you towards Heaven without a cavalry.

The name of the Prophet Zechariah means "God has remembered". He was an Israelite of the tribe of Levi and was born in Galaad. After the Babylonian captivity of the Jews he returned to Jerusalem as an old man. While in Babylon, he told many prophecies to the people of God, and gave many marvels and signs, in order to prove the truthfulness of his prophecies.

He had told the high priest Jehozadak that he would bear a son, and that he would serve as a priest of the Lord in Jerusalem. He blessed Salathiel, saying that he would bear a son, and would call him Zerubbabel, which means "seed of Babylon" (zeru is translated as "seed", while babel is "Babylon"). During the reign of Cyrus the King of Persia he gave an incredible sign regarding Croesus the King of Lydia, the pillaging and vanishment of Jerusalem, and the end of Israel. Also regarding the beginning and end of nations, the total destruction and abandonment of the Temple of Jerusalem, that Israel will be absent of Prophets, and the priests would rest on the Sabbath.

He also prophesied that there would be a double judgment that will take place,1 and many other prophecies. He reposed in old age and was buried near the tomb of the Prophet Haggai.2


1. By double judgment he means that of the soul and that of the body. Both will be judged in the future judgment. It should be noted, that the relic of this Prophet Zechariah is found in the Temple of James the Brother of the Lord in Constantinople, built by Emperor Justin.

2. Zechariah was the son of Baruch, and prophesied in the eighth month of the second year of the reign of Darius (520 B.C.), according to the first chapter of his prophetic book, which is divided into fourteen chapters. He was a companion of the Prophet Haggai, and they were of a similar life. His prophecies were addressed to the Judeans both before Haggai and after Haggai. He was an amazing Prophet who spoke, among other things, concerning Christ and the Church. Some say this Prophet had a martyric ending. Also, this Zechariah, with Haggai and Malachi, are called Prophets of the Second Temple, since they flourished when Zerubbabel built the Second Temple.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
By thy deeds, wise Zechariah, thou didst show that thou hadst righteously received thy name as a treasury of God's inspiration, for Angels were thy companions in life and thou wast a prophet of things to come. And now, as thou canst, fulfill from on high our petitions.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Enlightened by the brightness of the Spirit, O glorious Zechariah, like a lamp of many lights thou didst clearly describe beforehand the Saviour's condescension.