St Zacharias
Patriarch of Jerusalem

Commemorated February 21

St. Zacharias served as Patriarch of Jerusalem (609-632AD), succeeding Isaacius (601-609). According to John Zonaras, the great compiler of the Canons, his tenure lasted twenty-three years; but according to St. Nicephorus, it lasted twenty-two years. The holy Zacharias, in turn, was succeeded by St. Modestus. In the life of St. Modestus, the following was written concerning his predecessor,

"History will always remember the imprisoned Patriarch Zacharias, the heroic champion of the Holy Land, with great admiration and respect for refusing to be separated from the most venerable Cross".

Meletius states that at the time of Emperor Heraclius (614), the blessed Zacharias was imprisoned by Chosroes, but he returned to Jerusalem with Heraclius, who had driven out the Persians. Jerusalem, in the meantime, was rebuilt, and the captured Holy Cross was returned and elevated once again by the hands of St. Zacharias on the 14th of September, 629. This latter event is commemorated as the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, on September 14.

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