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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

I SHALL first speak of the relics of the prophet. Caphar-Zechariah is a village in the territory of Eleutheropolis, a city of Palestine. The land of this district was cultivated by Calemerus, a man who was faithful to the proprietor of the soil, but morose, and even unjust towards his neighbours. Although he possessed these defects of character, the prophet appeared to him in a dream, pointed out to him a particular garden, and said to him, “Go, dig in that garden at the distance of two cubits from the hedge which divides it from the road leading to the city of Bithereman. You will there find two coffins, a wooden one inclosed in one of lead. Beside the coffins you will see a crystal vase full of water, and two serpents of moderate size, but tame, and perfectly innoxious.” Calemerus followed the directions of the prophet, and zealously applied to the task. When he found the holy coffins, the one inclosed within the other, as had been described to him, the prophet appeared to him, clad in a white robe, which makes me think that he was a priest. At the foot of the coffin was the body of a child, apparently of royal birth, for on its head was a golden crown, its feet were encased in golden sandals, and it was arrayed in a costly robe. The wise men and priests of the time were greatly perplexed about this child; for they could ascertain no particulars concerning its birth or parentage, or the reason of its having been interred in this place. It is said that Zechariah, the superior of a monastery at Geraris, found an ancient document written in Hebrew, which had not been received among the canonical books. In this document it was stated, that when Zechariah, the prophet, had been put to death by Joahs, king of Judah, the family of the monarch was visited by a dire calamity; for, on the seventh day after the death of the prophet, one of the sons of Joahs, whom he tenderly loved, suddenly and unexpectedly expired. Judging that this affliction was a special manifestation of Divine wrath, the king ordered his son to be interred at the feet of the prophet, as a kind of atonement for the crime. Such are the particulars which I have ascertained on the subject.

Although so long a space of time had elapsed since the interment of the prophet, his body was found in a state of perfect preservation; his hair was closely shorn, his nose was straight, his beard of a moderate length, his head short, his eyes rather sunken, and overshadowed by thick eye-brows.








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