Saint Elizabeth, mother of the Forerunner
(September 5, June 24)
Iconographer: Dmitry Shkolnik
Saint Elizabeth, like Anna, mother of the Theotokos, was barren. She and her husband, the high priest Zachariah, prayed to God to remove this curse and give them a child. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah in the Temple and told him God had heard their prayers. Being doubtful, he asked the angel for a sign Consequently, he was struck speechless until the child was born. At his birth, he wrote on a tablet that the child’s name was to be John, as directed by the angel. The Theotokos visited Elizabeth, her cousin, when they were both pregnant. John was filled with the Holy Spirit and leaped in the womb when Mary greeted her. After John and Jesus were born, King Herod sought John when he ordered the slaughter of the innocents. Tradition says when Zachariah was killed in the Temple by Herod’s soldiers, Elizabeth prayed to God for protection and a hill opened that concealed her and John. She lived for forty more days, and an angel then cared for the child.