The Orthodox Church commemorates today Prophet Zachariah.
The Holy Prophet Zachariah was a priest and was married to Elizabeth, but they had no children. One day, during the performance of a service in a church, Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would give birth to a son, whose name would be John.
Zachariah did not believe that the prediction would come true because of their advanced age. Then, the angel told him that he would be not able to speak, until the day that those things would be performed.
In fact, Elizabeth gave birth to a boy. As soon as the infant was given the name John, Zachariah regained the power of speech and blessed the Lord.
This gift was given by God to Zachariah, because he was righteous, free from all serious guilt, and lived according to the commandments of the Lord. The son of the Holy Prophet Zachariah, John, is the first of the Prophets, Baptist and Forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The apparent punishment healed Zacharias’ unbelief in the Archangel’s message. When God visits people and challenges them with trials and tribulations, He does not undo His promises of salvation, nor does He withdraw His mercy from His creatures.
Source: Church of Cyprus