Our Patron Saint - Saint John the Baptist
Saint John the Baptist
The saints of the church, who are alive in Christ, are not only models whose lives and devotion to God we should strive to emulate, but also are intercessors to God. Individual faithful and parish communities are called upon to take a patron saint, in the tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. Early churches were built at the site of the graves of many of the Holy Martyrs. These communities were dedicated with the name of the martyr, and he or she was called upon by the community who worshiped there to act as an intercessor and protector for the faithful. Churches today place relics of the saints inside the Altar table as well as in places for veneration in the church in remembrance of these holy men and women in our lives.
About Saint John
St. John was the son of the Prophet Zacharias and Elizabeth, who was a kinswoman of the Virgin Mary. St. John is known as the “Forerunner” and “Baptist.” He is known as the Forerunner because he preceded Christ and taught repentance, which prepared men for Jesus’ teaching and His ministry. He even recognized Christ as the Messiah as early as when they were both still in their mothers’ wombs. According to Holy Tradition, the Virgin Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and when they embraced John leapt in his mother’s womb, which is considered his first acknowledgment of Christ as Messiah.
After his birth, St. John’s father Zacharias was murdered in the temple. He and his mother fled to the desert and he was raised there. Thus he lived as an ascetic from the earliest part of his life. He ate plants and roots and wore rough clothing. When he grew, he baptized people in the Jordan, teaching repentance, but also saying that someone greater would come after him and baptize with the Holy Spirit.
St. John always spoke the Truth and because Herod did not appreciate his criticism, he was imprisoned. Later he was beheaded, as the result of a promise Herod gave to his step-daughter to give her anything she asked. The daughter was convinced by her mother to ask for John’s head on a platter. Our parish celebrates the feast of St. John’s Beheading as our patronal feast day. It is a strict fast day in recognition of the way in which he died, but it is also a joyous feast day because John’s life was such a luminous example for monastics, martyrs and all Christians to follow him.
Hymn of Saint John the Baptist
The memory of the just is blessed, but the witness of the Lord is sufficient for you, Oh Forerunner. For you have shown forth as more venerable than the prophets, and found worthy, to baptize in the waters Him who they proclaimed. Therefore you were a champion for the truth. And pleased to bring good tidings even to those in Hades. That God made manifest in the flesh, takes away the sins of the world, and granting to us great mercy.
Feast Days of John the Baptist
September 23rd – Conception of St. John
January 7th – Synaxis of St. John – our patronal Feast Day
February 24th – 1st & 2nd Findings of the head of St. John
May 25th – 3rd Finding of the head of St. John
June 24th – Nativity of St. John
August 29th – Beheading of St. John