Tag Archives: Prophet Isaiah

Saint Isaiah, the prophet

I love the prophets. For Catholics we place a great emphasis on the work and prophecies of the men called by God to call us into relation to him. Yet, the prophets are not well known among Catholics. Thanks to the Byzantine Church for keeping a liturgical commemoration alive.

As you know, the Holy Prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Some fun facts on Isaiah to recall: he had a royal lineage and is revered as a martyr. In another blog I remembered for the readers that the Jewish king Manasseh ordered that he cut in half by a wood-saw. Isaiah was buried near the Pool of Siloam but his bones were moved to Constantinople in the church of Saint Laurence at Blachernae. Part of the head of the Prophet Isaiah is preserved at Athos in the Hilandar monastery. The importance of being buried near the Pool of Siloam comes from a miracle he performed through God’s power to quench the thirst of those defending Jerusalem from her enemies. Siloam means i.e. “sent from God.” The holy prophet is known to be wonderworking. Genealogy shows us that Isaiah’s father Amos, raised him in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord.

In addition to the virtue of life of Isaiah, he important because he is clear in his prophesies about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, Christ the Savior. The prophet names the Messiah as God and Man, teacher of all the nations, founder of the Kingdom of peace and love.

In the Kondakion the Church sings,

You were favored with the gift of prophecy, O martyr and seer, Isaiah, preacher of the things of God, and you announced the Incarnation to all when you proclaimed: Behold, a virgin will be with child.

By Isaiah’s prayers, may our souls be saved. May we, like the Holy Prophet make the Incarnation known.

Saint Isaiah, the Holy Prophet

Isaiah MichelangeloThe Prophet Isaiah lived nearly 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He genealogy names him as part of a royal lineage. We know from biblical study that Isaiah’s father Amos raised his son in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord. Isaiah weds the pious prophetess (Is 8:3) and had a son Jashub (Is 8:18).

God called Isaiah into His prophetic service during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judea, and he prophesied for 60 years during the reign of kings Joatham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. The start of his service was marked by the following vision: he beheld the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon a high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with His glory!” The pillars of the heavenly temple shook from their shouts, and in the temple arose the smoke of incense.

Several important things are instructive for us today:

“Oh, an accursed man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!” A Seraphim (one of the angels) was sent to him having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and said, “Lo, this has touched thy lips, and will take away with thine iniquities, and will cleanse thy sins.” After this Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?” Isaiah answered, “Here am I, send me” (Is 6:1 ff).

Prophets announced to the people the consequences of their sin; denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to God and they call them back to relationship with God through the observance of the law and tradition. For example: turn from impiety and idol worship; repent.

Famously, Isaiah predicted the captivity of the Jewish people and their eventual return during the time of the emperor Cyrus (a pagan but seen as a messiah), the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple; predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews; and with clarity and certainty spoke of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, the Christ as the Savior.

Christians rely on Isaiah because it is his vision and that we come to accept  the birth of the Messiah from a Virgin, and the work of the Messiah: the Suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the world and resurrection

Isaiah died a martyr. King Manasseh him killed by a wood-saw. Initially, he was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. In time, the relics of holy Isaiah transferred by the emperor Theodosius the Younger to Constantinople located in the church of Saint Laurence, Blachernae. Presently, the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos has a portion of the prophet’s skull.

Saint Isaiah, Prophet

St Isaiah prophet.jpegIn the Roman Martyrology we read that today the Church liturgically recalls Saint Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament. A translation of the entry found in the Martyrology:

Commemoration of holy Isaiah, the prophet, who, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, was sent to reveal that the Lord was faithful and a savior to an unfaithful and sinful people, and to fulfill the promise swear by God to David. It is said that he met death as a martyr at the hands of the Jews under king Manassah.

Saint Isaiah


St Isaie.jpgWith a great voice like that of a trumpet,

You proclaimed the coming of Christ to the world.

You were revealed as a swiftly-writing scribe of the things to come;

Therefore, we acclaim you with hymns,

Most illustrious prophet Isaiah. (Troparion, Tone 4)

 

Endowed with the gift of prophecy,

Prophet-martyr Isaiah, herald of God,

You made clear to all the incarnation of Christ

By proclaiming with a great voice:

“Behold, the Virgin shall conceive in her womb.” (Kontakion, Tone 2)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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