d.752. Pope from 741; last of the Greek popes. A Greek from Calabria, he was the first pope to be elected without reference to imperial authority. He was noted for his charity, learning, and diplomacy, and for translating the Dialogues of Gregory the Great into Greek. He prevailed upon the Lombard king to abandon an attack upon Ravenna and to return four cities to the Roman duchies. A truce of twenty years was concluded. He wrote the Byzantine emperor Constantine V Copronymos in opposition to iconoclasm. He supported Boniface,* the “apostle to the Germans,” whose mission everywhere extended papal authority. Zacharias had Boniface consecrate Pepin III* (“the Short”) as king of the Franks, replacing the weak Merovingian line, creating the Carolingian-papal alliance, and establishing a precedent to papal claims to the right to make and depose kings. In turn, Pepin recognized the pope as head of the Papal States,* another precedent of lasting significance. Zacharias called synods in 743 and 745.

ZACHARIAS. KJV and ASV form of Zechariah.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) One of the "rulers of the temple" at the time of Josiah’s Passover (1 Esdras 1:8) = "Zechariah" of 2Ch 35:8.

(2) One of the "holy singers" at Josiah’s Passover (1 Esdras 1:15); the name stands in place of "Heman" in 2Ch 35:15.

(3) In 1 Esdras 6:1; 7:3 = the prophet Zechariah.

(4) One of the sons of Pharos who returned with Ezra at the head of his family (1 Esdras 8:30) = "Zechariah" of Ezr 8:3, and perhaps identical with (5).

(5) One of the "men of understanding" with whom Ezra consulted when he discovered the absence of priests and Levites (1 Esdras 8:44) = "Zechariah" of Ezr 8:16, and perhaps identical with (6).

(6) Zacharias (omitted in the King James Version), who stood on Ezra’s left hand as he expounded the Law (1 Esdras 9:44) = "Zechariah" of Ne 8:4.

(7) One of the sons of Babi who went up at the head of his family with Ezra (1 Esdras 8:37) = "Zechariah" of Ezr 8:11.

(8) One of the sons of Elam who had taken foreign wives (1 Esdras 9:27) = "Zechariah" of Ezr 10:26.

(9) The father of Joseph, one of the "leaders of the people" under Judas (1 Macc 5:18,56).

(10) The King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Zarains" (1 Esdras 5:8).

(11) The King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Zachariah" of Mt 23:35.

Father of John the Baptist (Lu 1:5, etc.). He was a priest of the course of ABIJAH (which see), of blameless life, who in his old age was still childless. But on one occasion when it was the turn of the course of Abijah to minister in the temple (see Temple), Zacharias was chosen by lot to burn incense. While engaged in this duty he was visited by Gabriel, who announced to him that he should become the father of the precursor of the Messiah. Zacharias received the promise incredulously and was punished by being stricken mute. When, however, the child was born and Zacharias had obeyed the injunction of Gabriel by insisting on the name John, his powers of speech returned to him. According to Lu 1:67-79, Zacharias was the author of the hymn Benedictus, which describes God’s deliverance of Israel in language drawn entirely from the Old Testament, and which is unaffected by the later Christian realization that the Kingdom is also for Gentiles.

Elisabeth, his wife, was of the daughters of Aaron (Lu 1:5) and kinswoman of the Virgin (Lu 1:36; the relationship is altogether obscure). According to Lu 1:42-45, she was one of those who shared in the secret of the Annunciation. A few manuscripts in Lu 1:46 ascribe the Magnificat to her, but this seems certainly erroneous. See especially Zahn, Evangelium des Lucas, 98-101 and 745-751 (1913).