Today we commemorate one of the greatest Saints of our Orthodox Christian Church, John the Baptist the Forerunner of our Messiah, Jesus Christ (while we honor his memory on January the 7th). He lived in Judea’s desert for thirty years, leading an extremely ascetic life, eating locusts and honey and having as an only garment a camel’s roan.
John the Baptist is known for his preachings, especially about spreading the word of need for “repentance, for the Kingdom of God is near !”
The cause of his martyrdom and ultimately his beheading, was his opposition to the illegal marriage of Herod Antipas with Herodias, wife of his brother Herod [Marc. 6, 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”]. John’s examination of Herod’s secret life with her, felt like an unimaginable insult that stirred his corrupted conscience. That is why Herod decided to imprison John the Baptist , but without much difference ; chains , mistreatment and threats over his life weren’t able to stop John’s determination to be a servant of God and of the truth , as he would preach how appalling sin is and it is the root of many of man’s trouble.
On the day of his birthday, Herod promised to give Herodias anything her heart desired, even up to half of the kingdom ; her daughter’s dancing and her charm worked perfectly for her, to open the path for the deepest of her desires to come true. That is why Orthodox Christians are prohibited from celebrating their birthdays; instead the Orthodox Church encourages to honor the name of the Saint whose name we take after ( feast of our name day) . For the feast of birthday became a day of mourning after the slaughter of the righteous John the Baptist , to entertain Herod’s passions. Especially on the 29th of August, the day we commemorate the Saint, the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist, who, according to the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, began as the highest figure of the ancient world (see Matt. 11,11. and Luke. 7,28 : Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.), it is also a day of great fasting. This day is equal to the Great Friday, when the Son of God was handed over to the God-murdeders for speaking the truth , for asking men to change their wicked ways ; to come to their selves and recognize that God does not want animal or material sacrifices but a humble heart ;
as written in Hosea 6: 6 https://biblehub.com/hosea/6-6.htm :
My judgments go forth like lightning. 6For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant; there they were unfaithful to Me.… (about Israel’s unrepantant ways and blindness of heart because of their desire for the wordly delights exceeded their love for God.)
they thought by putting Jesus to silence that they would ease their conscience as well, for they chose the faith that suited and covered up for their sins – such was the sacrifice of John the Forerunner, who was made to silence as his good friend and Living God.
Herodias wasted no time and had her daughter ask for the Baptist’s head on a plate. So the Forerunner of the Lord , and Baptist passed into eternal and true life , holding the crown of the martyr, the prophet, the Baptist and Forerunner and of the Saint.
We should all be inspired by his opposition to corruption at all costs.
Also on May the 25th of each year, we honor the 3rd discovery of Holy Glorious Prophet and Forerunner, John the Baptist’s Holy Head.
The honorable head of John the Baptist, while hidden for many years, appeared through the earth and shone as gold. And while in the beginning it was placed in a special pitcher, it was found in a silver vase and in a sacred place.
The discovery was made after information, which was given by a priest from the Komana of Cappadocia, who saw the exact spot.
From there, the holy head was transferred to Constantinople (to the Monastery of Stoudio), where a magnificent reception took place, in the presence of the Patriarch’s emperor and the faithful and philanthropic people of the King.
Source: Orthodox Synaxarist
Always Rejoice ! Christ IS Risen !
Above : Orthodox Christian Icon of the finding of Saint Johnt the Baptist’s Holy Head
Bishop Augustine Kantiotis (†) talks about John the Baptist , in one of his inspiring speeches :
A great lesson is given to us on this day; human beings are put to death, but ideas can not die. Preachers of truth, law and morality are imprisoned and executed, but their ideas can not.
God of the powers and the righteous hears the victims who weep and pray. Their voice reaches as far as His throne.
It is therefore with solitude and faith to eternality (true life after death) that we will draw strength from the martyrdom of the Holy Baptist so that we may move forward, and God of righteousness and love will Be with us all .
~’Saint Theodore Stouditis (☦) says about John the Forerunner :
He is the lamp that shines a light , which in words cannot be described,
the entrusted preacher of the Lamb of God,
the careful listener of the voices of the Father,
the famous Baptist of Christ, the fearless examiner of sinful Herod,
the harbinger of τthe true life for those who were already in hades,
The trumpet which gives voice to the divine commandments over the world,
speak to us, now from the heavens too, with your Holy intercessions…
Hymn in original Greek text :
Μνήμη δικαίου μετ᾽ ἐγκωμίων· σοὶ δὲ ἀρκέσει ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Κυρίου Πρόδρομε· ἀνεδείχθης γὰρ ὄντως καὶ Προφητῶν σεβασμιώτερος, ὅτι καὶ ἐν ῥείθροις βαπτίσαι κατηξιώθης τὸν κηρυττόμενον· ὅθεν τῆς ἀληθείας ὑπεραθλήσας, χαίρων εὐηγγελίσω καὶ τοῖς ἐν ᾅδῃ, Θεὸν φανερωθέντα ἐν σαρκί, τὸν αἴροντα τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου, καὶ παρέχοντα ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
Ὡς πάντων ὑπέρτερος, τῶν Προφητῶν ἀληθῶς, αὐτόπτης καὶ Πρόδρομος, τῆς παρουσίας Χριστοῦ, Προφῆτα γεγένησαι, ὅθεν καὶ παρ’ Ἡρῴδου, ἐκτμηθεῖς σου τὴν Κάραν, ἔδραμες τοὶς ἐν Ἅδῃ, προκηρύξαι τὸ λύτρον διὸ σὲ Ἰωάννη Βαπτιστά, ποθῶ γεραίρομεν.
Ἡ τοῦ Προδρόμου ἔνδοξος ἀπoτομή, Οἰκονομία γέγονέ τις θεϊκή, ἵνα καὶ τοῖς ἐν ᾅδη τοῦ Σωτῆρος κηρύξῃ τὴν ἔλευσιν. Θρηνείτω οὖν Ἡρωδιάς, ἄνομον φόνον αἰτήσασα, οὐ νόμον γὰρ τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, οὐ ζῶντα αἰώνα ἠγάπησεν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπίπλαστον πρόσκαιρον.
Άγιε ένδοξε Ιωάννη, προφήτα και Πρόδρομε και Βαπτιστά του Κυρίου ημών Ιησού Χριστού, πρέσβευε υπέρ πάντων ημών!☦️
Βοήθεια μας Αμήν