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Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner

Head of St. John the Forerunner

The Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner is commemorated on May 25.


The third discovery of the venerable head of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John occurred in about the year 850. The head of St. John the Forerunner was found in the city of Emesia during a time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of St. John Chrysostom.

In about 820 the head was transferred to Komana during the Saracen raids, and it was hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclastic persecution. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatius (847-857) saw in a vision the place where the head of St. John was hidden. The patriarch informed the emperor, who sent the delegation that found the head.

The head was transferred to Constantinople, and on May 25 it was placed in a church at the court. Part of the head is on Mt. Athos.

The account of the first and second discoveries of the head of St. John the Forerunner are remembered by the Church on February 24.


Troparion (Tone 4) [1]

As a divine treasure hidden in the ground
Was your head revealed to us by Christ, O prophet and forerunner.
We have gathered in commemoration of this finding
With inspired hymns of praise to the Savior,
Who saves us from corruption through your prayers!

Kontakion (Tone 4) [2]

By giving your venerable head to a sinful woman,
Herod broke the law of God.
But we behold it and cry out for joy,
And say to you, O forerunner:
Pray to the Lord that He may grant mercy to us all!


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