Holy Prophet Zacharias, Father of the Venerable Forerunner
According to the opinion of many Fathers of the Church, based on an ancient tradition, this is the Zacharias whom, as our Lord said, the Jews slew between the temple and the altar (Matt. 23:35), first, because even after the Virgin Mary gave birth, he continued to refer to her as virgin and number her among the virgins; second, because Zacharias' son John was not found during the slaughter of the Innocents, since the elderly Elizabeth had taken him and carefully hid him while he was yet an infant, in an unnamed place somewhere in the desert, where, according to the Evangelist, "the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel" (Luke 1:80). When the child was not found, his father was slain by Herod's command.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
In the vesture of a priest, according to the Law of God, thou didst offer unto Him well-pleasing whole-burnt offerings, as it befitted a priest, O wise Zacharias. Thou wast a shining light, a seer of mysteries, bearing in thyself clearly the signs of grace; and in God's temple, O wise Prophet of Christ God, thou wast slain with the sword. Hence, with the Forerunner, make entreaty that our souls find salvation.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day the Prophet and ven'rable priest of the Most High, even Zacharias, who begat the Forerunner, hath now mixed for us the draught of virtue and set the table of his sacred mem'ry nourishing all the faithful; for this cause do we extol him as a most godly initiate of grace divine.