Commemorated on August 29
«Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand», (Matthew 4, 17).
Hymn of Praise
Saint John the Baptist
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
O Saint John, wonderful Baptizer,
Of the Savior, you were the glorious Forerunner,
You, with your purity, touched human souls
And, as an awesome trumpet, from the Jordan resounded
From sleep and idle vices, awakening men,
When the axe was near to the root.
To you I bow, to you I pray:
Every temptation, help me to resist.
Prophet most powerful, to you I bow,
And before you kneel and before you I weep:
From your heart, grant me the strength of a lion,
From your spirit, grant me angelic whiteness.
Grant me your strength that by practice to attain
To God be submissive and to rule over myself,
To baptize by fasting, to purify by all-night vigils,
To sweeten by prayer and heavenly vision,
And to every martyrdom, walk without fear
With your courage and with a strong faith.
O Saint John, God’s chosen one,
And glorious martyr for supreme justice,
You, of whom the godless armies are afraid
To my prayers, do not turn a deaf ear,
But, strengthen me by your prayers,
That as a true candle before the Lord, I stand.
If you observe how men die, you would see that the death of a man usually resembles his sin. As it is written: “For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (St. Matthew 26:52). Every sin is a knife and men usually are slain by that sin which they most readily committed. An example of this is given to us by Salome, the foul daughter of Herodias who asked for and received from Herod the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Living in Spain in the town of Lerida [Loredo] with the exiled Herod and Herodias, Salome set out one day across the frozen river Sikaris. The ice broke and she fell into the water up to her neck. Icebergs squeezed around her neck and she wiggled, dancing with her feet in the water as she once danced at the court of Herod. However, she was unable either to raise herself up or to drown until a sharp piece of ice severed her head. The water carried her body away and her head was brought to Herodias on a platter as was the head of John the Baptist at one time. Behold how terrible a death resembles the sin committed.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date August 29, and New Calendar date September 11.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-august-29-september-11.htmlBeheading of Saint John the Forerunner. Today is a little Great Friday, a second Great Friday. Saint Justin Popovich of Celije
Homily on the Feast of the Beheading of St John, the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, St. Justin Popovic of Celije
Grant unto me then, Lord, a pure heart and unchangeable repentance, leading to salvation; grant that I may find favour in Thy sight during the remainder of my life!
I thank Thee, Lord, for bestowing new life upon me each time, when, with tears of repentance and gratitude, I celebrate the Divine Liturgy and partake of Thy most pure and life-giving Mysteries.
“If you fall, rise and you shall be saved.” You are a sinner, you continually fall, learn also how to rise; be careful to acquire this wisdom. This is what the wisdom consists in: learning by heart the psalm, “Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness,” inspired by the Holy Spirit to the king and prophet David, and say it with sincere faith and trust, with a contrite and humble heart. After your sincere repentance, expressed in the words of King David, the forgiveness of your sins shall immediately shine upon you from the Lord, and your spiritual powers will be at peace. The most important thing in life is to be zealous for mutual love, and not to judge anyone. Everybody shall answer for himself to God, and you must look to yourself. Beware of malice.
Excerpts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt
Troparion of the Forerunner: In Tone II:
The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, * but the Lord’s testimony is enough for thee, O Forerunner * for thou wast shown to be more wonderful than the Prophets * since thou wast granted to baptize in the running waters * Him whom thou didst proclaim. * Then having endured great suffering for the Truth, * thou didst rejoice to bring, even to those in hell, * the good tidings that God Who had appeared in the flesh * takes away the sin of the world and grants us the great mercy.
The Kontakion for the Beheading of St John the Baptist,:
In Tone V:
The beheading of the glorious Forerunner * was a divine dispensation * that the coming of the Savior might be preached to those in hell. * Lament then, Herodias, * that thou didst demand a murder * despising the law of God and eternal life.
Beginning an ode unto thee, O God-hymned blessed John, I am full of joy and yet also full of dread, for I fear that I shall not find words, O Forerunner to worthily praise thee, but do thou thyself strengthen me and grant that I may worthily speak of thee saying:
Rejoice, thou by whom gladness came;
Rejoice, thou by whom the curse was destroyed;
Rejoice, teacher of the ends of the world;
Rejoice, proclaimer of Christ’s wonders;
Rejoice, height of conscience that reacheth unto the heavens;
Rejoice, breadth of purity that cleanseth all the earth;
Rejoice, since thou hast seen the Holy Trinity;
Rejoice, thou who despised the deceit of fallen nature;
Rejoice, star that revealeth the Sun;
Rejoice, luminary that illuminates all that are under the sun;
Rejoice, thou by whom Christ hath been proclaimed;
Rejoice, thou by whom Satan was rejected;
Rejoice, O proclaimer of grace.