Our father among the saints Zacharias of Jerusalem was the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Church of Jerusalem from 609 to 632. Patr. Zacharias spent most of his patriarchate as a prisoner of the Persian King Chozroes. He is commemorated by the Church on February 21.
The early life of Patr. Zacharias is unknown. He was elected patriarch in 609. During the reign of the Roman emperor Heraclius the Persian King Chozroes invaded Jerusalem in 614, pillaged the city, and withdrew with the Life-Creating Cross of Christ and a large number of Christian prisoners who were held in bondage, including Patr. Zacharias. Of the captured Christians as many as 90,000 perished.
In 627, after rebuilding his army, Heraclius moved into Persia. Winning a decisive victory at Ninveh, Heraclius defeated Chozroes and compelled the Persian king to return the Life-Creating Cross and the surviving captives, including Patr. Zacharias. Emperor Heraclius himself carried the Cross on his shoulders into the Holy City.
Patr. Zacharias and the Precious Cross had been held in bondage for fourteen years. During that time many miracles occurred in Persia as a result of the Precious Cross, so that even the Persians said: "The Christian God came to Persia."
Patr. Zacharias spent his remaining days in peace and reposed in the Lord in 632. Patr. Modestus, who had acted as locum tenens during Patr. Zacharias' captivity succeeded him on the patriarchal throne.
Zacharias of Jerusalem
|Patriarch of Jerusalem
- Sainted Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem
- Professor F.C. Conybeare. Antiochus Strategos, The Capture of Jerusalem by the Persians in 614 AD. English Historical Review 25 (1910) pp. 502-517.