Aug 29, 2020
Today we commemorate the beheading of St. John the Baptist. On this day we observe a strict fast and we try to refrain from using a knife throughout the day as a sign of our love, respect and empathy towards the gruesome death in which St. John endured.
St. John the Baptist was the son of the Prophet Zacharias and Elizabeth, who was a cousin of the Virgin Mary. St. John is also known as the 'Forerunner of Christ' from the Greek 'Prothromos', meaning the one 'going (running) ahead'.
He is known as the Forerunner because he preceded Christ and taught repentance, which prepared men for Jesus’ teaching and His ministry. St. John's conception, birth, life, and death, have all been extraordinary.
Around the year 27AD St. John appeared at the banks of the Jordan River and began his preaching of repentance. Those who heeded his preaching and repented were baptised by St. John in the Jordan as a sign of spiritual regeneration. He was promising his converts that his baptism in water was to be followed by the baptism of someone else who was coming after him who would baptise the believers in the Holy Spirit and in fire.
St. John's call to repentance was addressed to rich and poor alike and unavoidably to the sinful palace of Herod Antippas who was denounced for his immoralities. In answer to that and at the prompting of his unlawful wife, Antippas imprisoned John. After a promise given by the king to his wife's daughter by which he would grant her anything she asked for if she danced at a banquet, John was beheaded and his head was brought to Herodias as she had asked at the request of her mother.