Elizabeth and Zechariah
Saint Luke's Gospel tells us that Elizabeth and Zechariah were both 'righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.' Their one sorrow was that Elizabeth was barren and both were now old.
While Zechariah was performing his priestly duties, the angel Gabriel appeared to him, announcing that his wife would bear him a son and they were to call the boy John. Zechariah scarcely believed the angel, so that Gabriel decreed he remain dumb until the prophecy was fulfilled.
The time came for the birth of John (who was to be known as the Baptist). Zechariah was still dumb, and Elizabeth's neighbours and relatives wanted to call the baby after his father. But Elizabeth said, 'He should be called John.' Zechariah too wrote the name 'John' on a tablet. So the boy was circumcised. Speech came back to the old father, who praised God, for (he said) 'he has visited and redeemed his people'. John, he said, would 'be the prophet of the Most High and go before the Lord to prepare his ways'.
A later tradition holds that Zechariah was murdered in the Temple for refusing to tell Herod the whereabouts of his son.
From A Calendar of Saints -
The Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year
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