Zechariah and Elizabeth

First Century

The first chapter of Luke’s Gospel tells the story of John the Baptist’s parents. Elizabeth, a cousin of Mary, is old and childless; her husband, Zechariah, is a priest in Jerusalem. Zechariah is praying in the Temple when an angel reveals Elizabeth will bear a son named John. When he doesn’t believe the angel, he is struck dumb until he confirms the name John at his son’s circumcision. Before John’s birth, Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth; their prayerful greetings became the “Hail Mary” and “Canticle of Mary.” Luke also credits Zechariah with a canticle of praise. Elizabeth is the patron saint of pregnant women and infertile couples.

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