Apostle Zacchaeus

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Holy Apostle Zacchaeus, one of the Seventy, is commemorated on April 20

The holy Apostle Zacchaeus was a rich publican at Jericho. Since he was short of stature, he climbed a sycamore tree in order to see the Savior passing by. After the Ascension of the Lord, St Zacchaeus accompanied St Peter on his travels. Tradition says he became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, where he died in peace.

Sunday of Zacchaeus

The Church also remembers Zacchaeus on the Sunday of Zacchaeus when the Gospel of Luke 19:1-10 is read, describing his encounter with Christ. The Sunday of Zacchaeus is the Sunday before the Triodion begins.

It is read before Great Lent to teach that one should turn away from sins, and atone for them. That the real proof of sorrow and repentance is not just a verbal apology, but when correcting oneself and one should amend for the consequences of evil actions.

The Lenten journey begins with a recognition of sinfulness, just as Zacchaeus recognized his. He promised to make restitution by giving half of his wealth to the poor, and by paying to those he had falsely accused four times as much as they had lost. In this, he went beyond the requirements of the Law (Ex. 22:3-12).

Just as Zacchaeus "sought to see who Jesus was" (Luke 19:3), that same desire and effort to see Jesus starts the movement through Lent towards Pascha. It is the first movement of salvation.