The Conception of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
For many years, the barren Elizabeth could not conceive a child and after much fervent prayer, their petitions were answered. Once, as the Prophet Zachariah was high priest of the Temple, he entered the Holy of Holies to find an angel standing at the east end of the altar. This was the Archangel Gabriel. The Angel announced that their prayers had been heard by the Lord and that Elizabeth would soon bear a son whose name would be John. Zachariah did not believe the words of the Angel, and for his disbelief, he was made mute until the birth of his son. The Prophet exited the Holy of Holies after an extended period of time, with the faithful waiting for him in the Temple. They sought an answer for his delay and the Prophet signed out to them that he was unable to speak. They understood that he had had a holy vision, leaving him speechless. Nine months later, the Righteous Elizabeth gave birth to the Holy Forerunner and Baptist John, loosing both Zachariah’s tongue and Elizabeth’s barrenness.
Ἦχος δ’. Ταχὺ προκατάλαβε.
Ἡ πρώην οὐ τίκτουσα, στεῖρα εὐφράνθητι, ἰδοὺ γὰρ συνέλαβες, Ἡλίου λύχνον σαφῶς, φωτίζειν τὸν μέλλοντα, πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἀβλεψίαν νοσοῦσαν, χόρευε Ζαχαρία, ἐκβοῶν παρῥησίᾳ· Προφήτης τοῦ Ὑψίστου ἐστίν, ὁ μέλλων τίκτεσθαι.
Ἦχος α’. Χορὸς Ἀγγελικὸς
Εὐφραίνεται λαμπρῶς, Ζαχαρίας ὁ μέγας καὶ ἡ πανευκλεής, Ἐλισάβετ ἡ σύζυξ, ἀξίως συλλαμβάνουσα, Ἰωάννην τὸν Πρόδρομον, ὃν Ἀρχάγγελος εὐηγγελίσατο χαίρων, καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ἀξιοχρέως τιμῶμεν, ὡς μύστην τῆς χάριτος.
Troparion — Tone 4
Rejoice, O barren one, who formerly did not bear a child, / for you have conceived the Lamp of the Sun, / who is to illumine the whole universe darkened by blindness. / Rejoice, O Zachariah / and cry out with boldness: / “The prophet of the Most High desires to be born!”
Kontakion — Tone 1
“The angelic choir”
Great Zachariah rejoices with his wife, the far-famed Elizabeth, / for she has fittingly conceived John the Forerunner, / whom an angel announced in gladness; / and whom we rightly honor / as an initiate of the grace of God.