In the Christian tradition the Prophet Zechariah the Sickle-Seer is considered one of the twelve Minor Prophets. He was descended from the tribe of Levi and lived after the Babylonian exile during the reign of king Darius. St. Zechariah was called to prophetic ministry as a young man and became, in the expression of church hymnology, "a spectator of supra-worldly visions." The title "Sickle-Seer" given to Zachariah comes from a vision in which he saw a sickle-shaped scroll flying in the air (Zechariah 5: 1–2). Little is known about his life. He was the son of Berekiah (Zecharia 1:1), mentioned in the Gospel (Matthew 23:35). He was killed by the Hebrews for his denunciatory preaching “between the sanctuary and the altar”.

The Book of Zechariah consists of 14 chapters containing predictions of the Savior’s final days. He also predicted the Messiah’s name “Behold the man whose name is The Branch” (Zechariah 6: 12). The Prophet Zechariah prophesied about Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem on a donkey “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9: 9); betraying Christ for thirty pieces of silver “And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord” (Zechariah 11: 12–13); about piercing Jesus’ side “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 11: 12–13 12: 10); about a sun eclipse during the crucifixion “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light”. (Zechariah 14: 7).

The Prophet Zechariah is traditionally depicted as a beardless young man wearing a blue chiton, a red himation and sandals, with a scroll in hands. He is portrayed on the 10th century miniature of the Turin part of Interpretations of the Book of the Prophets (The National Library, Turin), mosaics in the Church of the Theotokos Pammakaristos (Turkish Fethiye Camii) in Constantinople (1315). In iconography the Prophet Zechariah is shown on the prophets’ tier of iconostases, for example, at the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in the St. Therapont Monastery (1502, Dionysisus, Kirillo-Belozersk Museum).

The Prophet Zechariah is commemorated on February 21st (February 8th, the old style) on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers and Fathers.

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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