International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
( Ζαχαρίας , Zacharı́as ): Father of John the Baptist ( Luke 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 Luke 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 ( Luke 1:5 ) and kinswoman of the Virgin ( Luke 1:36; the relationship is altogether obscure). According to Luke 1:42-45 , she was one of those who shared in the secret of the Annunciation. A few manuscripts in Luke 1:46 ascribe the Magnificat to her, but this seems certainly erroneous. See especially Zahn, Evangelium des Lucas , 98-101 and 745-751 (1913).
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
pope from A.D. 741 to 752. He induced the Lombard king Luitprand to restore the cities taken from Rome in 739, to conclude a truce for twenty years, and subsequently to desist from the siege of Ravenna and restore all the territory taken from the exarchate. He was equally successful in influencing Luitprand's successor, Rachis, as respects the interruption of his conquests, and even received that monarch and his queen and daughter into the number of his clergy (749) after their abdication of the throne. He also consecrated Carloman to the clerical office (747). He advised the Byzantine emperor Copronymus to replace the images in the churches. Boniface, the apostle to the Germans, found in Zacharias an energetic and able manager of-the interests of Rome, and became his agent in the elevation of the Carlovingian dynasty. Zacharias held a synod in 743 at which fifty-nine bishops were present, and which dealt with questions of discipline. He translated the Dialogues of Gregory the Great into Greek, and purchased the liberty of many slaves destined by the Venetians for Africa. See Jaff, Regesta Pontificum; Migne, Patrologie, tom. 89; W rtwein and Giles, collections of Boniface's letters, St. Bonij. Opera (Lond. 1845), vol. 1; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s v.