Those present called him Zacharias, the name of his father. But the mother said, “Not he shall be called John.”
Since the child’s father was unable to speak, he was asked, by means of a sign, to indicate the child’s name. He then asked for a tablet and wrote, “His name is John.”
Immediately Zacharias’ mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed from its silence of nine months, and filled with the Holy Spirit, he blessed the God of Israel, Who had fulfilled the promises made to their fathers, and had visited them that were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, and had sent to them the light of salvation. Zacharias prophesied concerning the child also, saying that he would be a Prophet of the Most High and Forerunner of Jesus Christ.
And the child John, who was filled with grace, grew and waxed strong in the Spirit; and he was in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel (Luke 1:57-80). His name is a variation of the Hebrew “Johanan,” which means “Yah is gracious.”
Apolytikion of Nativity of John the Forerunner in the Fourth Tone
O Prophet and Forerunner of the presence of Christ, we who fervently honor you cannot worthily praise you. For by your revered and glorious birth the barrenness of your mother and the muteness of your father were unbound, and the incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.
Kontakion of Nativity of John the Forerunner in the Third Tone