The Nativity of the Honourable Forerunner, Saint John the Baptist
Behold I send my messenger before your face, Who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight”. Saint John’s is the only saint’s birthday celebrated throughout the church calendar year. Saint John is remembered on three other days as well, but they all deal with the discovery of his Holy relics.
His father, Zacharias, a Hebrew priest, was struck dumb by the Archangel Gabriel at the altar when he would not believe the archangel’s news that his wife Elizabeth (a very old woman) would conceive a son. He got his voice back when writing, on the day of the child’s circumcision, that his name would be John. When Herod sent soldiers to kill the infants in Jerusalem in search of Jesus, Saint John also was at risk. Elizabeth hid the baby, and in anger Herod had Zacharias killed near the temple. Elizabeth hid in a cave with the baby and died when he was forty days old. St. John remained in the wilderness where he was raised by angels. The presence of St. John and his disciples was not felt until about one year before the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. He preached repentance in the wilderness and not the cities, and the crowds came to him. He is known as the Baptist and Forerunner of Christ, because of his role in preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ, although we cannot praise you worthily, we honour you in love at your nativity, for by it you ended your father’s silence and your mother’s barrenness, proclaiming to the world the incarnation of the Son of God!
Kontakion (Third Tone)
Today the formerly barren woman gives birth to Christ’s Forerunner, who is the fulfilment of every prophecy; for in the Jordan, when he laid his hand on the One foretold by the prophets, he was revealed as Prophet, Herald, and Forerunner of God the Word.
We Also Celebrate Today:
Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner
Panagiotis the New Martyr