John the Forerunner

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Prophet and Forerunner '''John the Baptist''' is also refered to as '''John the Forerunner''' because he was the forerunner of Christ. He was an ascetic and great prophet, who baptized [[Christ]] and became one of the most revered saints in the [[Orthodox Church]].  He was later beheaded by Herod in the first century to statisfy the request of his stepdaughter, Salome, and wife Herodias.  Because he baptized Christ, he is the [[patron saint]] of [[godparents]].
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[[image:Johnforerunner.jpg|right|thumb|St John the Forerunner, the cousin of Christ and last of the prophets.]]The glorious [[Prophet]] and Forerunner '''John the Baptist''' is also referred to as '''John the Forerunner''' because he was the forerunner of [[Christ]]. He was an [[ascetic]] and great prophet, who [[baptism|baptized]] Christ and became one of the most revered [[saint]]s in the [[Orthodox Church]].  John is a cousin of Christ through his mother [[Elizabeth]] who was the daughter of Zoia.  Zoia is the sister of Christ's [[Anna|grandmother]].  He was later beheaded by Herod in the first century to satisfy the request of Herod's stepdaughter, Salome, and wife Herodias.  Because he baptized Christ, he is the [[patron saint]] of [[godparent]]s.  He is sometimes called the ''Angel of the Desert''; because of this title, he is sometimes depicted with wings.
  
Isaiah 40:3-5 is commonly read as a prophecy of John.  His father, [[Zacharias]], was a [[priest]] of the course of Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, [[Elizabeth]], was of the Daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John held the priesthood of Aaron, giving him the authority to perform baptisms of God.
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[[Book of Isaiah|Isaiah]] 40:3-5 is commonly read as a prophecy of John.  His father, [[Zacharias]], was a [[priest]] of the course of Abia ([[I Paraleipomenon|1 Chr.]] 24:10), and his mother, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron ([[Gospel of Luke|Luke]] 1:5). John held the priesthood of [[Aaron]], giving him the authority to perform baptisms of God.
  
His birth took place six months before that of Jesus, and according to the Gospel account was expected by prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1) and foretold by an angel. Zacharias lost his power of speech because of his unbelief over the birth of his son, and had it restored on the occasion of John's circumcision (Luke 1:64).
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His birth took place six months before that of Jesus, and according to the [[Gospel]] account was expected by prophecy ([[Gospel of Matthew|Matt.]] 3:3; Isa. 40:3; [[Book of Malachi|Mal.]] 3:1) and foretold by an [[angel]]. Zacharias lost his power of speech because of his unbelief over the birth of his son, and had it restored on the occasion of John's circumcision (Luke 1:64).
  
John was a [[Nazarite]] from his birth (Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judea lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12). He led a simple life, wearing rope (gamla) fiber clothing and eating "locusts and wild honey" (Matt. 3:4).
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John was a [[Nazarite]] from his birth (Luke 1:15; [[Numbers|Num.]] 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judea lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12). He led a simple life, wearing rope (gamla) fiber clothing and eating "locusts and wild honey" (Matt. 3:4).
  
 
As an adult John started to preach in public, and people from "every quarter" were attracted to his message. The essence of his preaching was the necessity of repentance and turning away from selfish pursuits. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them not to assume their heritage gave them special privilege (Luke 3:8). He warned tax collectors and soldiers against extortion and plunder. His doctrine and manner of life stirred interest, bringing people from all parts to see him on the banks of the Jordan River. There he baptized thousands unto repentance.
 
As an adult John started to preach in public, and people from "every quarter" were attracted to his message. The essence of his preaching was the necessity of repentance and turning away from selfish pursuits. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them not to assume their heritage gave them special privilege (Luke 3:8). He warned tax collectors and soldiers against extortion and plunder. His doctrine and manner of life stirred interest, bringing people from all parts to see him on the banks of the Jordan River. There he baptized thousands unto repentance.
  
The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt. 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus, a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded at the instigation of Herodias; later tradition also implicates Salomé. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of Jesus' ministry.
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The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in [[Nazareth]] (Matt. 3:5), and he came from [[Galilee]] to Jordan to be baptized by John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his [[disciple]]s, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus, a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded at the instigation of Herodias; later tradition also implicates Salomé. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third [[Passover]] of Jesus' ministry.
  
Jesus himself testified regarding John that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35). John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge figure between that period of revelation and Jesus. They also embrace a tradition that, following his death, John descended into Hell and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming.
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Jesus himself testified regarding John that he was a "burning and a shining light" ([[Gospel of John|John]] 5:35). John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge figure between that period of revelation and Jesus. They also embrace a tradition that, following his death, John descended into [[Hell]] and there once more preached that Jesus the [[Messiah]] was coming.
  
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== Feast days ==
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[[Image:Nativity of St John the Baptist.JPG|right|thumb|Nativity of St John the Baptist]]
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The Orthodox Church remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate [[feast day]]s, listed here in order of the [[church calendar|church year]] which begins on [[September 1]]:
  
== Feast Days ==
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*[[September 23]] - Conception of St. John the Forerunner
The Orthodox Church remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate feast days, listed here in order of the church year which begins on September 1:
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*[[October 12]] - The [[Russian Orthodox Church]] observes the [[Translation (relics)|Transfer]] of the Right Hand of the Forerunner from Malta to Gatchina (1799).
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*[[January 7]] - [[Synaxis of the Baptist|The Commemoration of St. John the Forerunner]] (main feast day, immediately after [[Epiphany]] on January 6)
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*[[February 24]] - First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
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*[[May 25]] - [[Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner]]
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*[[June 24]] - Birth of St. John the Forerunner
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*[[August 29]] - The [[Beheading of St. John the Forerunner]]
  
*September 23 - Conception of St. John the Forerunner
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Also, St. John's parents Zechariah and Elisabeth, are commemorated on [[September 5]].
  
*January 7 - The Commemoration of St. John the Forerunner (main feast day, immediately after Epiphany on January 6)
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==Relics==
*February 24 - First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
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[[File:Finding the head of John the Baptist (Menologion of Basil II).jpg|right|thumb|Miniature of the Finding of the head of St. John the Baptist (''Menologion of Basil II, 10th c.'').]]
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The First Uncovering of the Head of St. John the Baptist took place in the fourth century at the time when Saint [[Constantine the Great]] and his mother, St. [[Helen]], began restoring the holy places of Jerusalem.
  
*May 25 - Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
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The Second Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist of took place on on February 18, 452, at Emesa.
  
*June 24 - Birth of St. John the Forerunner
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After the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), which reestablished the veneration of icons, the head of St. John the Baptist was returned to the Byzantine capital in around the year 850. The Church commemorates this event on May 25/June 7 as the Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist.
  
*August 29 - The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner
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His [[relics]] are kept in several places including:
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* St. Demetrios Church, Neo Phaleron, Piraeus
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* Benaki Museum, Athens
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* Sacred Relics Room, Topkapi Museum, Constantinople (entire right arm and cranium)
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* Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria
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* Cetinje Monastery, Montenegro (right palm)
  
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==See also==
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* [[Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner]]
  
== Relics ==
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==External links==
*St. Demetrios Church, Neo Phaleron, Piraeus
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* [http://www.tenthousandfilms.com/ The Baptism of Christ - Uncovering Bethany beyond the Jordan - 47 min Documentary; includes interviews with various Eastern Orthodox representatives, incl. Greek Orthodox Bishop Vindictus of Jordan]
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* [http://www.comeandseeicons.com/j/saintsj.htm#phi05 Several Beautiful Icons of St. John the Baptist and Forerunner, mostly by Living American Iconographers]
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* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=102952 Translation of the relic of the Right Hand of John the Baptist] - [[OCA]] Website.
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* Priest Maxim Massalitin. [http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/52051.htm The Untold Story of the Head of St. John the Baptist]. Pravoslavie.ru (Translation by OrthoChristian.com). 07/03/2012.
  
*Benaki Museum, Athens
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[[Category:Biblical Saints]]
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[[Category:Saints]]
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[[Category:1st-century saints]]
  
*Topkapi Museum, Constatinople
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[[el:Ιωάννης ο βαπτιστής]]
 
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[[fr:Jean Baptiste]]
* Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria
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[[mk:Свети Јован Крстител]]
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[[ro:Ioan Botezătorul]]

Latest revision as of 12:39, January 15, 2013

St John the Forerunner, the cousin of Christ and last of the prophets.
The glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist is also referred to as John the Forerunner because he was the forerunner of Christ. He was an ascetic and great prophet, who baptized Christ and became one of the most revered saints in the Orthodox Church. John is a cousin of Christ through his mother Elizabeth who was the daughter of Zoia. Zoia is the sister of Christ's grandmother. He was later beheaded by Herod in the first century to satisfy the request of Herod's stepdaughter, Salome, and wife Herodias. Because he baptized Christ, he is the patron saint of godparents. He is sometimes called the Angel of the Desert; because of this title, he is sometimes depicted with wings.

Isaiah 40:3-5 is commonly read as a prophecy of John. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John held the priesthood of Aaron, giving him the authority to perform baptisms of God.

His birth took place six months before that of Jesus, and according to the Gospel account was expected by prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1) and foretold by an angel. Zacharias lost his power of speech because of his unbelief over the birth of his son, and had it restored on the occasion of John's circumcision (Luke 1:64).

John was a Nazarite from his birth (Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judea lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12). He led a simple life, wearing rope (gamla) fiber clothing and eating "locusts and wild honey" (Matt. 3:4).

As an adult John started to preach in public, and people from "every quarter" were attracted to his message. The essence of his preaching was the necessity of repentance and turning away from selfish pursuits. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them not to assume their heritage gave them special privilege (Luke 3:8). He warned tax collectors and soldiers against extortion and plunder. His doctrine and manner of life stirred interest, bringing people from all parts to see him on the banks of the Jordan River. There he baptized thousands unto repentance.

The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt. 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus, a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded at the instigation of Herodias; later tradition also implicates Salomé. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of Jesus' ministry.

Jesus himself testified regarding John that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35). John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge figure between that period of revelation and Jesus. They also embrace a tradition that, following his death, John descended into Hell and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming.

Contents

Feast days

Nativity of St John the Baptist

The Orthodox Church remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate feast days, listed here in order of the church year which begins on September 1:

Also, St. John's parents Zechariah and Elisabeth, are commemorated on September 5.

Relics

Miniature of the Finding of the head of St. John the Baptist (Menologion of Basil II, 10th c.).

The First Uncovering of the Head of St. John the Baptist took place in the fourth century at the time when Saint Constantine the Great and his mother, St. Helen, began restoring the holy places of Jerusalem.

The Second Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist of took place on on February 18, 452, at Emesa.

After the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), which reestablished the veneration of icons, the head of St. John the Baptist was returned to the Byzantine capital in around the year 850. The Church commemorates this event on May 25/June 7 as the Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist.

His relics are kept in several places including:

  • St. Demetrios Church, Neo Phaleron, Piraeus
  • Benaki Museum, Athens
  • Sacred Relics Room, Topkapi Museum, Constantinople (entire right arm and cranium)
  • Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria
  • Cetinje Monastery, Montenegro (right palm)

See also

External links

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